» Entries tagged with "jail"

The Story Of A Real Victim

This will be the third time I’ve written about the beloved local law enforcement technique of tricking men who are seeking escorts of legal age into making deals with undercover cops pretending to be underage prostitutes. First, I described the process generally, from the state’s shaky cases to the brutal mandatory minimums that universally secure guilty pleas with ease. Then, I explored my creative side with a little poem. I didn’t talk much about the poor people who get caught up in all of this, though, the only real victims in these cases. One victim stands out more than any other. I got a call one Friday night from a distressed friend of a man who’d been taken into custody that afternoon on what the friend said … Read entire article »

Filed under: immigration, Prosecutors, Sex Crimes

Rock Bottom

At a hearing earlier this week, I mentioned to the judge how a police officer unfairly targeted my client. It seemed to me that the cop was clearly out to get him. The judge laughed, “he’s a motor; of course he’s out to get your client, those guys are out to get everyone.” The prosecutor laughed too. The judge then mentioned how he gets extremely nervous every time he’s driving his car and sees a “motor” sitting there on a motorcycle, just waiting to catch someone for something. “I keep my hands at ten and two, go under the speed limit, and only look straight ahead,” he joked. The prosecutor chimed in, “those guys will nail you for anything; they’d give their own mother … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

It’s Not About DUI At All

Driving around lately, the number of police officers everywhere is absolutely astounding. I’ve seen more people stopped by officers on the side of the road than I ever have before. Cops seem to be lurking around every corner on the freeways, causing people to suddenly slam on the brakes and ram into each other like a game of bumper cars. They’re all over the surface streets too. The Arizona DUI media machine is in overdrive as well, with things like this passing for news: “Super Bowl revelers: Arizona tough place for DUIs” I must admit that it’s adorable when folks here in the valley think people who don’t live here have any interest in reading our shitty newspapers. It’s not so adorable that I live someplace where people are … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

Imaginarily Sufficient But Not Greater

It’s always struck me as silly that we as a society have decided that justice is somehow best measured by time in confinement. Speaking with an experienced former prosecutor who spent time in a foreign country helping to set up a “modern” criminal justice system, I was amused when he said they were backwards with punishment and human rights. When someone did wrong, he explained, the punishment might be giving the victim his finest goat. A convicted criminal might even be forced to give the victim his firstborn boy as a slave or his firstborn daughter as a bride for a serious offense. I could only think about how, here in Arizona, we’d just stick the dad in a cage and all but guarantee the son eventually becomes … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prosecutors, Sentencing

Why It Sometimes Sucks (And Then Doesn’t…Sorta)

It’s often hard to explain the little reasons it can sometimes suck being a defense attorney, so I figured I’d strike while the iron is hot and write about something that happened recently. It should highlight one tiny little reason why the job can suck. It should also highlight why the job doesn’t just suck all the time, but is more of a roller coaster of suck and not-suck. A couple of weeks ago, I had a settlement conference in a case. The goal was to see if the parties could reach an agreement. The prosecutor and judge were both great to deal with, and my client was very reasonable. He was facing a harsh mandatory minimum prison sentence and understood by the end that he … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General

Another Shameful Win For The Drug Warriors

I gave a client a ride to court yesterday morning. He’d flown into the Phoenix airport from the other side of the country and didn’t have transportation. It would’ve been a record-breaking cab fare for him, so I offered and he accepted. We probably don’t have an awful lot in common, and his English is about as good as my Spanish. He’s an incredibly nice guy, though. He fielded one teary phone call after another from one family member after another during the drive. I tried not to eavesdrop, but there was one thing I couldn’t help but catch: Daddy’s going to work. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone. It might be a long time. Be a good boy. Be good … Read entire article »

Filed under: Drugs

If That’s What He Says, What Does He Think?

Imagine a case where a guy gets popped on drug charges and the cops say they’ll not submit anything for charges if he catches a bigger fish for them. The guy holds up his end of the bargain, but the cops screw up the sting. The cops then go ahead and submit everything to charge him. A prosecutor later needs the guy to testify against the bigger fish when the cops finally catch him. The guy and his former lawyers both claim she promised him no jail or even a dismissal if he did what she asked. Again, the guy follows through, this time securing a conviction. The prosecutor makes him an offer to jail anyway, denying she made any promises and pointing out nothing is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Judges

Are They Idiots Or Are They Liars?

I wouldn’t be writing about Mesa twice in row if I didn’t think it was all noteworthy. This time, though, I’m a little less cynical. I refuse to believe the judges at Mesa City Court are anywhere near as simple-minded and unfair as some of the prosecutors there claim. To give you some background, if you are charged with misdemeanor DUI in Arizona and your BAC is between 0.08 and 0.15, the mandatory minimum jail sentence is one day with nine days suspended. If your BAC is between 0.15 and 0.20, it’s nine days with twenty-one days suspended. Any misdemeanor DUI in Arizona could theoretically result in 180 days in jail, but I’ve never seen it happen, heard about it happening, or even realistically considered that any prosecutor could … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, DUI, Prosecutors

Sucks Not Eating That Cake, Huh?

I covered a pretty amazing hearing recently. It wasn’t amazing because of anything I did. It was amazing because it perfectly showcased the disastrous impact of mandatory sentencing rules and a culture of punishment and cruelty not just on defendants, but on victims. The client was accused of taking money from a family trust. He was left out of it, but his cousins weren’t. He allegedly drained the trust using forged checks. At his first sentencing, the victims said how they weren’t going to get to go to college. He took their college fund, apparently, and now they had to take out student loans. At least one of them wanted to punish him with a long prison sentence. All of them wanted him to repay … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Prosecutors, Victim's Rights

DUI Home Detention

Arizona’s extreme DUI statute is A.R.S. § 28–1382. Subsection (D)(1) requires thirty consecutive days in jail for a DUI involving an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more but less than 0.20, and subsection (I) allows for all but nine of those to be suspended. For an alcohol concentration of 0.20 or more, the same subsections require forty-five consecutive days in jail and allow for all but fourteen days to be suspended. Depending on the court, you may be able to do home detention for some of your time. The relevant home detention statute is A.R.S. § 9-499.07. In 2011, Senate Bill 1200 made some substantial changes to the law. Here is what it changed regarding the eligibility requirements a prisoner must meet for the program: Notwithstanding section … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

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