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

More Than Race

I’m hesitant to write a post making a similar point to my last one, but as one article after another comes out discussing racism in this country in the wake of another white cop avoiding indictment after murdering an unarmed black man, this time with clear video, I worry we’re only having part of the conversation. Race is part of problem. It may even be most of the problem right now. It’s also the reason why most people are even thinking about the issue of police violence. Unfortunately, I worry that it’s not the part of the problem we can fix. Although I’m not as optimistic or congratulatory about our progress, Chris Rock makes some amusing and likely accurate observations about race relations in this country: “When we … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

Watching The Watchers

Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri have drawn a great deal of attention to the issue of police brutality. One idea to address the problem involves equipping all police officers on patrol with body-worn cameras, which people apparently call BWCs. It is beyond me how people are even debating this. Study after study suggests that cops behave better when they wear BWCs. Compared to cops who wear BWCs, cops who do not wear BWCs are involved in many more use-of-force incidents and receive far more complaints. When two jurisdictions right here in Arizona, Mesa and Phoenix, had some of their officers wear BWCs, things were no different. In Mesa, there were 40 percent fewer total complaints and 75 percent fewer use of force complaints for officers with cameras. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Police

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

Why The Work Never Ends

I started work today with the best intentions. I had a list of what I had to accomplish along with a realistic plan of attack. After I sat down and finished my first task, a call came in: CLIENT: A detective came to see me and I pled guilty ME: What? CLIENT: It’s an emergency. I pled guilty. ME: You mean you confessed? CLIENT: Yeah, I pled guilty. I told him all the other stuff I did. ME: Did you say you had a lawyer? CLIENT: No, I just talked to him. He read me my rights and stuff. ME: Why did you talk to him? CLIENT: I don’t know. We’re gonna need to add the new charges to the current plea. ME: What new charges are there going to be? CLIENT: It doesn’t matter, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients

Cracking Down On College

A recent article explained, “Tempe kicks off ‘Safe and Sober’ campaign but without ASU.” The emphasis is mine, but it doesn’t really need it. What were you thinking, ASU? Do you have a problem with safety? Sobriety? The gist of the article is that people visiting Tempe last weekend were going to see a massive police presence as officers from nine agencies teamed up for the “Safe and Sober” campaign, something that as near as I can tell is intended to violate the constitutional rights of hundreds of innocent people in a valiant effort to make college suck. Shamefully, ASU police did not participate. Tsk, tsk. Another article lays out the stats: Total stops: 1,812 Total citations: 919 Total arrests: 486 Arrests for minors in possession of alcohol: 208 Total DUI … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

Taking The Law Seriously

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has so many policies I can hardly keep them straight. I suspect that few deputy county attorneys even know all of them, as I hear there’s a manual they consult when in doubt. If a defendant files a motion to remand for a new determination of probable case, the policy is apparently to not offer a plea. For certain types of charges, no matter how unique the facts of the case, the offer apparently must involve a prison sentence. Aggravated DUI cases involve a plea to a complicated duo of charges that, quite frankly, makes no sense at all, and repeat offenders get similarly bizarre offers based on a complex and largely arbitrary set of considerations. Most notable, for the purpose of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, Legislation, Police, Prosecutors

Blurring Lines

I picked a jury last week. During voir dire, I noted something that struck me as particularly interesting. I wondered if there was much to read into it. I noticed most members of the panel drew no distinction between law enforcement experience and military service. When the judge asked the jurors if they or any close friends or family had any law enforcement experience, most people who answered in the affirmative did so because they had friends or family in the armed forces. My impression was that they viewed the two as being the same because they view both soldiers and cops as protectors. I found the lack of distinction troubling. Maybe it’s the libertarian in me, but I’m bothered by the increasing police militarization in this country. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Details

Jeff Gamso put up a post today that included, among other things, a portion of a detailed log about what one death row inmate did prior to his execution. For example, at 10:50:23, he asked for grape soda. At 10:55:36, he requested a “special meal” of a T-bone steak with A-1 steak sauce and a “Chief” salad with blue cheese dressing. Details like that make everything feel more real, and in this particular case, those details really humanize that man for me. Knowing his last meal does more to upset me about his execution than all the mitigation in the world. It drives home that the government killed a person. It’s hard for me to think that an evil monster would have a favorite steak sauce … Read entire article »

Filed under: Trial

Trial Reflections

I spent last week in trial. My client was charged with one count of aggravated assault. If he had been convicted and the state proved his priors and its allegation that he was on probation, he faced ten to fifteen years. The theory of the state’s case was that my client kicked his live-in girlfriend in the face five or six times, causing her “temporary but substantial disfigurement.” The jury acquitted my client after a four-day trial and an hour of deliberation. Like any trial, it was an interesting experience. A few things stood out though. I only had the case for about ninety days, and I was the client’s fifth or sixth lawyer, depending on whether you count his third (and last) public defender. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, lawyers, public defenders, Trial

After the Collapse

Defense attorneys, at least the ones I know, regularly speculate about how much time we have before the criminal justice system finally collapses. The argument is never about whether it’s going to happen, but rather about when it’s going to happen. Spend enough time in court with open eyes, and you’ll wonder the same thing. The system is so broken and overflowing with cases that most of us think it can’t possibly last much longer. Always one to embrace a little doom and gloom, instead of talking about how we might prevent the imminent collapse, I’d rather talk a little about how I think things are likely to be after it happens. Here are my predictions: 1) The Bill of Rights as we know it will be just … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General

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