Brown & Little, P.L.C. » Entries tagged with "hearing"

You’re Screwed Just The Same

Accomplice liability must be a tough thing to grasp, as I often hear defendants argue about how they shouldn’t be sent to prison for various things because it wasn’t totally their fault. They didn’t kidnap the victims, they just continued to hold them against their will after someone else snatched them. They didn’t assault the victims themselves, they just drove their co-defendants to the victims’ house to do it. I could go on and on. Addressing those sorts of arguments, I sometimes hear prosecutors and judges say that it didn’t matter to the victims who made what decision and who took over which responsibilities; they’re awful crimes, and all participants should face the music. In one case, the prosecutor asked, “do artificial distinctions comfort someone in a … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Police

Guilty Until Proven…

Oh, who am I kidding? They aren’t even going to let you prove yourself not guilty. Not before it’s too late, at least. I’m talking about the Town of Gilbert again, and this time it isn’t your car or your money that they’re after. It’s your driver’s license. The situation where I was recently reminded of how evil Gilbert is involved a client who received notice from the MVD telling him his license was suspended for failing to appear for a court hearing in Gilbert. If you get stopped for DUI in Gilbert and they take a blood sample, which they probably will, you may have to wait for a summons from the court instead of getting a ticket and a court date right there at … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, DUI

For Your Protection

I spent some of my afternoon yesterday in traffic court. The criminal counts in a client’s case had been dismissed by the prosecutor, but the civil count remained. The court set it for a civil traffic hearing regarding my client’s alleged violation of A.R.S. 28-964(A). He was charged with riding a motorcycle in Mesa in September while wearing a helmet with the visor up. I’m not so sure that’s illegal. I pulled up to Mesa’s nice new courthouse and parked in their nice new parking garage. When I walked up and opened the heavy metal and glass door, it felt expensive. Inside, I took off my belt and put it in a tray along with everything in my pockets. A few chubby security guards … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Statutes, Bikers' Rights, Courts, Police

Thanks for the Heads-Up!

Yesterday morning, I was supposed to have an MVD hearing. An issue came up with my client being able to attend, however, so I faxed in a motion to continue. I called the MVD and confirmed they received it. It was somewhat last minute, but they had plenty of time to make a decision. Although they surely could have, the MVD didn’t bother calling me Wednesday to let me know what was going to happen with yesterday’s hearing. Instead, they left me a voice message at my office well before business hours yesterday morning in a voice mailbox for an extension that I’m not even sure how they reached. The message said the motion was denied and the hearing was going to proceed as scheduled. I ended … Read entire article »

Filed under: MVD Hearings

A Well-Oiled Machine

I had one hearing yesterday afternoon, and it was in Pinal County. The Pinal County Superior Court is about an hour from my office, give or take a few minutes, but I find myself there quite a bit. It’s a fascinating place. Yesterday, it was a confusing, frustrating place. The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office recently announced that attorneys would no longer be allowed to visit with their in-custody clients in the inmate holding area prior to court. The new policy is for security reasons, apparently, and it means that there’s no way to speak with a client prior to a hearing unless you go see him or her in jail. Seeing a client in jail is no small feat. If you want to do an “in-person” visit … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Prosecutors

There’s No Hope

Every time I think things in the justice system couldn’t be worse, something comes along that suggests I ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I stumbled upon such a thing yesterday. I discovered that Maricopa County Superior Court has an official Twitter account. The court has harnessed the power of social media and is tweeting about all kinds of things. Its tweets range from the mundane, like a link to a pic of the new cafe in courthouse, to the anything-but-mundane, like who’s getting sentenced to life in prison. My trip down the rabbit hole didn’t end there. Through the magic of social networking, I connected to the Official Twitter Account for the Arizona Judicial Branch. They aren’t nearly as prolific, having tweeted only a few times total and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts

We're Gonna Need a Motion for That

Of all the people in the criminal justice system, aside from the actual defendants, private defense lawyers are usually in the worst position to get anything done. We don’t get full access to court information. We can’t access the county or city email directories. We don’t have offices in the same building as the judges. In most courts, we can’t even bypass security. We stand in line with our clients and watch the prosecutors walk to the front of the line, swipe their badges, and glide on through. Despite our lack of access and resources, courts are more than happy to shift the burden of completing various tasks to us every opportunity they get. In some courts, we’re obligated to file transport orders for clients … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts

The System Doesn't Always Suck

It may seem like I do nothing but complain, but there are times when things do go according to plan. Sometimes the system gets it right. Rarer still, sometimes the system gets it wrong but corrects the mistake with surprising efficiency. That happened in one of my cases on Wednesday. The crime was supposedly possession of marijuana, and my client is a first-time offender. The state has a serious uphill battle in the case, as the stop is questionable, the search is questionable, and the facts are about as good as they get for trial purposes. He may lose, as the odds never really exceed fifty-fifty when you’re playing with a jury, but he has no real risk at trial; he’s ineligible for jail even if … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Prosecutors

That's Him!

I seem to be taking on a lot more cases with major identification issues as of late. As a result, I’ve been preparing quite a few Dessureault motions. In Arizona, a Dessureault motion is what lawyers call a motion challenging an unduly suggestive pretrial identification procedure. Because an unduly suggestive photo or in-person lineup can mean that a witness misidentifies the defendant not merely at the time of the lineup but also at trial, the case law requires that the trial court hold a hearing to determine whether the pretrial identification process was unduly suggestive. At that hearing, the state bears the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the process was not unduly suggestive. It might seem like the law is relatively pro-defendant in … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases

A CPS Nightmare

The prosecutor scratched the charges because my client was not guilty of the crime. This wasn’t one of those maybe-she-did-it-but-we-can’t-prove-it cases. The sum of information available about what happened should have made it obvious to anyone with half a brain that my client did nothing wrong. She did not assault her daughter. My client’s innocence notwithstanding, some of the folks over at Arizona Child Protective Services, either lacking half a brain or bored with nothing to do, decided to meddle. “We just want to get your client’s side of things,” they said. I found out about the meeting exactly one business day before it was set to happen. I don’t represent people in dependencies. I attended the meeting with CPS because I never trust the government … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

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