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

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

Unusual DUIs

I’m a huge fan of Lawrence Taylor’s DUI Blog. His post yesterday was about police charging a man on a bicycle with driving under the influence. He previously put up a post about a lawn mower DUI. The most offensive DUI case I’ve heard is probably this one, where a poor lady was cited for wheel chair DUI. Every time I hear about someone getting charged with DUI on something other than a car, truck, or motorcycle, I marvel at the stupidity of anti-DUI zealots. How dangerous are these drunk bicyclists and lawn mowers? More importantly, how much more dangerous are they than a drunk person without transportation? Do authorities really think they’re protecting the public by prosecuting that lady in her wheel chair? … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Police

Really?

I could make a very long list of idiotic misconceptions police officers have about drugs, but my favorite by far is the legendary marijuana green-tongue. Believe it or not, police officers are actually trained to look for a green tongue as an indicator of marijuana use. In fact, the dreaded green-tongue even made it on the NHTSA’s website. I couldn’t make this stuff up. I seriously doubt there is any real scientific research supporting that theory. Sure, the NHTSA claims it’s true and cites plenty of studies, but I’m not about to read every single resource they cite to see how exactly they came to the conclusion that a green-tongue means recent marijuana use. Can anyone point me to the specific study? If there is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

Super-nosed Cops

I recently had a case where a police officer claimed he was able to smell a very small amount of unburnt marijuana. The amount was the same weight as a level teaspoon of salt, yet the officer pulled over the truck and performed a search of the vehicle without the client’s permission based solely on the odor of unburnt marijuana. The marijuana was located in the back of a closed camper inside two sealed plastic baggies inside a nylon gym bag filled with clothes. I have absolutely no doubt that the officer couldn’t have possibly smelled that marijuana. However, as a defense attorney few tools exist for me to challenge the claim on a scientific basis. I’ve only located one case where a court took … Read entire article »

Filed under: Police, Search and Seizure

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