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

Move Along, No Preferential Treatment Here

Last Thursday, we faxed a motion to continue trial to Mesa Municipal Court at 10:02 a.m. We sent the state a copy too, of course, though we’d also told the assigned prosecutor what we were going to do the day before. The court called us at 2:25 p.m. and left a message about getting our position on the state’s motion to continue trial. That’s right, the state’s motion. Not ours. The motion the state didn’t bother faxing us until 3:45 p.m. I called the court back sometime shortly before 5:00 p.m. and spoke with a very pleasant lady. She wanted to know my position on the state’s motion. I told her we didn’t oppose it and had in fact filed our own motion. She asked … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts

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

Veterans Court

In a lot of ways, I really like the idea of a special court for veterans. Treating any group or any individual in accordance with the fundamental concept that some sense of dignity and worth should be afforded to criminal defendants is a great idea in my book, even if most other defendants don’t have the same luxury. I’m not willing to slam a program that does something a little closer to right just because the rest of the system treats people totally wrong. On the other hand, it’s tough to stomach a system that superficially kowtows to people whose lives have been directly ruined by the government, whether voluntary or not on their part, while destroying the lives of those whose lives have been less overtly ruined by … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts

An Epic Pinal County Scandal

A little more than a week ago, Scott Greenfield wrote a post at Simple Justice about how a deputy at the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office shot an unarmed man in the back despite the fact the man had his hands in the air and was clearly surrendering. If it hadn’t been caught on camera by a bystander, it would never have been news because the sheriff initially lied about the facts, insisted the deputy was justified, and let the deputy return to full duty after only three days of paid administrative leave. Luckily, the footage couldn’t be clearer: CBS 5 – KPHO Scott wrote about the deeper message the sheriff was sending by approving of the officer’s clearly unjustified actions, which is indeed the more important thing to consider. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, Police, Prosecutors

Quit Making Me Write About You, Avvo

I’ve written far too much about Avvo already, but they went and did it again. After claiming my profile to “earn” a super awesome perfect 10 (Look at me! I’m special!), the emails started pouring in. I immediately became desensitized to the spam about webinars and musings from all kinds of brilliant “lawyers” who are far too smart to do dirty work like practicing law, but something else finally caught my attention. A recent email had the grabbing subject line of “New Case Notification: A traffic ticket case has just been posted.” I hadn’t asked to receive anything of the sort, and as I read the email, I wished I hadn’t. It wasn’t really a traffic ticket at all, but someone charged with a criminal offense. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Marketing

Except For That, Of Course

The silliest part of any guilty plea is the part when the court asks if anyone has threatened or coerced the defendant into pleading guilty. People are inclined to say no when it’s obviously the answer the judge wants to hear no matter what the circumstances happen to be. The desire to please is intense enough when the person asking the incriminating question has a badge and gun, but it’s even more powerful when the person asking sits high above the fray wearing a robe and keeps getting called “your honor” by everyone in the room. Several of my clients have given an admirable hell yes and briefly tried to elaborate before being cut off by others suddenly made aware of the absurdity of the question. I respect the clients … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts

Picking the Wrong Lawyer

Yesterday wasn’t such a great day for me. After losing a bench trial I doubt I would’ve lost had it been in front of a jury, the judge informed my client the she had a bench warrant for failing to appear in another pending case in the same jurisdiction. There was a police officer waiting in the gallery to take her into custody. My client had hired one of those firms with billboards and posters everywhere to handle her first case. Dissatisfied with the representation, she hired me to handle the second. She complained about how hard it was to reach her other lawyer and how she felt he kept her in the dark about everything. My experience trying to stay in the loop with the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts, Ethics, Judges

Food for Thought

A few Fridays ago, I spent the day in a very short jury trial. In that one short day, I was given more food for thought than I ever could have imagined. Between dawn and dusk, I strengthened a few existing beliefs, reconsidered many more, and even managed to drink a beer or two afterwards while trying to make sense of what happened. Here’s what I learned… You are entitled to a jury trial in an Arizona reckless driving case I initially told my client that I didn’t think he was actually eligible for a jury trial in a case involving a single count of class 2 misdemeanor reckless driving. I didn’t even believe he was actually going to get one when he showed me his hand-written pro … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prosecutors, Trial

Real Change

For the first time in a little while, I left court this morning feeling like everything turned out okay. The whole experience was quite surprising, honestly. A lot of things could have gone wrong, but they didn’t. In most cases, even a positive result has some major downside. Not today. My client had absconded from probation long ago. He left the state and started a new life. There was nothing for him in Arizona but bad memories and worse influences. The new life he created for himself, on the other hand, was filled with stability, good people, and direction. He had been sober for a long time. He had a job and a support network. He finally knew what he wanted … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Prosecutors

When Justice Is Corruption And Injustice Is The Law

Via one of my favorite blogs, the ever-fantastic Philly Law Blog written by Jordan Rushie and Leo M. Mulvihill, Jr., whose beard-mentoring qualifications give me beard envy and whose fashion sensibilities continue to intimidate me into wearing plaid for every occasion, respectively, came this amazing little report. In case you don’t want to click through, the report details all kinds of favorable treatment given to important people by Philadelphia’s traffic courts. Unlike most thirty-plus page reports about a court in a different state, I felt compelled to read it. I’m glad I did. The report tells a story of judges giving “special consideration” to people with power. It explains that judges routinely helped the politically connected individuals get all kinds of benefits, even when no express request … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

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