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» Entries tagged with "jail"

Did He Mention It Was Just Plain Evil Too?

Jamison Koehler put up a post earlier today about Washington, D.C.’s “post-and-forfeit” statute being upheld in federal district court. A lawyer had sued D.C. after being arrested for disorderly conduct and given the “choice” pursuant to the statute of either paying $35.00 to be released and resolve the case or hanging around in jail for bit. As is often the case, Scott Greenfield wrote a post about the case over a year ago, not too long after the lawyer first filed suit. Whereas Scott expressed concerns about the law and its potential problems in his post, Jamison’s post wasn’t really about the law at all. He focused on how people shouldn’t pick unnecessary fights with police officers or bring stupid lawsuits. Discussing the plaintiff-lawyer’s decision to file … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Government Rants, US Constitution

The Decreasing Value Of Time

Ours is a world of easy answers. Type whatever you’re wondering into Google and look no further. The solution to your problem should be on the first page. Clicking onto the second is too much work, so the answer can’t be there. The easiest thing is always the right thing. For the tough problems, we have statistics to take moral and ethical judgment out of the equation. Things are bad in this world, and the numbers confirm it. Punish harshly and watch the numbers drop, they tell us. In reality, we’re watching the people who make the numbers feign a reduction to encourage us to quit thinking about whether what we’re doing collectively is right or wrong. Regardless, the numbers are what matter. A … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

No Harm in Asking, Right?

I have a little list of things to do and not do that I give people who are going to speak at or write letters for a client’s sentencing. I pieced it together from various sources and have continued to add to it for the past three years. Clients’ families, friends, and employers tend to find the guidance helpful, and I often provide it to other defense lawyers when they ask. It isn’t anything special, but it covers most of the bases. One section seems to hang people up more than anything else. It’s the section having to do with not making unreasonable requests, and it says this: Be realistic. Do not ask for probation if it is a prison plea. If the minimum prison term … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts

You Don't Say

I have a tough time not laughing when I think something is funny. I suspect that other people know this and try to make me laugh at inopportune times. Often, they don’t have to try at all. Twice in a row, law enforcement personnel have inadvertently tested my ability to keep a straight face. Given the circumstances, I’m quite proud of myself for suppressing laughter. The first time, I was waiting to get into a maximum security area of a jail after hours. There was some kind of problem with the normal intake area for attorney visits at the facility, so a detention officer had to walk me around the outside of the building to the back entrance for employees. The detention officer was a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Police

Just Another Double-Standard

Clients who are interested in a plea usually want a probation plea. It should come as no surprise that most criminal defendants would love to avoid prison, and in Arizona, the potential range of prison for the charge underlying the conviction gets suspended while the defendant completes probation. Violate and you face the original prison sentencing range, but in the end, whether you ever end up facing any prison sentence at all is almost entirely in your hands. Probation isn’t all fun and games though. An Arizona criminal defendant can get up to a year in the county jail as part of probation. That’s especially tough considering that many county jails are terrible. Clients often tell me they’d rather spend a long time in state prison … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Courts, Probation

No Warm Fuzzies Here

The work of a criminal defense lawyer is often thankless.  You can put your heart and soul into something, and at the end of the day, you may be the only human being on earth who knows what good you’ve done, what difference you’ve made. When it looks like you’ve messed up, however, it rarely escapes notice. You’ll get caught. You’ll get called on it whether it’s your fault or not. I got to experience some of the thankless nature of the job yesterday morning. My first hearing was a change of plea. The client is already serving a prison sentence, and he has a couple of years left to go. There’s a decent constitutional issue, so I convinced the prosecutor to make him an … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts, Practice in General

We're Insane

My brother sent me a link to this CEPR study about the cost of incarceration a few weeks ago. After reading the entire thing, I was speechless. The topic of the study seemed so familiar, yet the numbers were so much more stunning than I ever could have imagined. I scoured blogs to see if someone else had posted about it, yet I found only one article. Let me know if I’ve missed others. The statistics are incredible: we now incarcerate 240% more people than we did in 1980; in 2008, one out of every 48 working-age men was in prison or jail; non-violent offenders make up over 60% of the prison and jail population; drug offenders now account for about one-fourth of all offenders behind bars. Those are just some of the numbers that … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, jail

Jail: US v. Mexico

I recently met with a potential client who is a Mexican citizen. He doesn’t reside in the United States and is absolutely terrified of doing any time in jail in Arizona. That isn’t exactly an unusual feeling for a person to have, but this guy should be capable of holding his own in a tough situation. He is familiar with our country. I don’t want to say what he does for a living, not because it is illegal, but because I don’t want to impact his career in case someone starts snooping into his life. Suffice it to say, this guy shouldn’t really be worried about a few days in the county jailhouse. It got me thinking. Do people in Mexico fear our jails like … Read entire article »

Filed under: jail

Double Jeopardy Is Okay…If You Are a Native American

If you are Native American and commit a criminal offense on an Indian reservation, it can be a crime in both the Indian community and the federal system. As a result of the United States Supreme Court’s decisions on the matter, the Indian Civil Rights Act, and subsequent legislation, Indians can go to jail (technically, there are no prisons on Indian reservations) and federal prison for the same crime. They can also be fined twice for the same criminal act. The Supreme Court’s rationale is based on their interpretation of the source of Indian governments’ powers and how they interact with the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court was also understandably concerned that an Indian could quickly plead out in an Indian jurisdiction to avoid federal prosecution. This often leads … Read entire article »

Filed under: Indian Law, SCOTUS Cases

Promises, Promises

One of the most common things I hear in initial consultations is that “attorney so-and-so said he could definitely get me X deal.” It can be a frustrating situation when the client was promised something that no defense attorney in their right mind would promise. Sometimes, it ends up being an amusing situation when the “deal” prospective clients claim they were promised really can be guaranteed. Multiple clients have said to me that local high-volume DUI firms told them, “if you hire us for your first time regular DUI, we can get the judge to suspend all but one of the ten mandatory days of jail.” That’s true. It’s a reasonable guarantee because it’s a virtual certainty, but it’s misleading for that same reason. That result has … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Ethics, Practice in General

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