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» Entries tagged with "pretrial"

Guilty Until Proven…

Oh, who am I kidding? They aren’t even going to let you prove yourself not guilty. Not before it’s too late, at least. I’m talking about the Town of Gilbert again, and this time it isn’t your car or your money that they’re after. It’s your driver’s license. The situation where I was recently reminded of how evil Gilbert is involved a client who received notice from the MVD telling him his license was suspended for failing to appear for a court hearing in Gilbert. If you get stopped for DUI in Gilbert and they take a blood sample, which they probably will, you may have to wait for a summons from the court instead of getting a ticket and a court date right there at … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, DUI

Carbon Copy Criminal Defense

Arizona has pretty good discovery rules. The state has to disclose quite a bit fairly early in the process compared to many jurisdictions. The defense also has a duty to disclose, which mostly consists of providing the state with a list of witnesses, exhibits, and defenses that may be offered at trial. Courts generally don’t enforce the rules as they should, but they’re still quite helpful. At the very least, the defense gets enough to prevent nasty surprises in most cases. The notices themselves contain a lot of boilerplate language. Writing a disclosure notice from the ground up would waste time. Plus, things like diagrams of the scene and maps of the area aren’t normally the first thing a lawyer thinks about when mounting a … Read entire article »

Filed under: lawyers

Stay on Your Side

In each Maricopa County courtroom, the side of the gallery behind the defense table is for defendants and their families. The side behind the prosecution is for victims, law enforcement, and other people there for the prosecution. When I’ve been in trial, the sides either tend to be equal or they overwhelmingly favor the prosecution’s side. The policy doesn’t seem too ridiculous then, as it makes sense to keep a defendant’s family from sitting right next to the victim’s family. I can see how there might be some potential for trouble. During a court’s regular law and motion calendar, where it’s nothing but scheduling conferences and release hearings, the policy creates a different result. There may be forty out of custody defendants on the calendar. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts

The Coverage Dilemma

I do my best to personally attend every single hearing for every single client I represent. Every lawyer I respect does the same. Despite my best intentions, however, I admit I’ve had to ask for coverage. I’m sure I’ll have to do it again. Trials sometimes go longer than planned, and judges sometimes set things over my objection. Every judge thinks his or her orders are the most important. When a non-lawyer justice of the peace sets a misdemeanor pretrial opposite a felony jury trial that’s been docketed for five months, you can bet I’ll be sending another lawyer to do that pretrial. I’ll send someone I trust, but it won’t be me. Yesterday morning, the tables were turned when another lawyer asked me … Read entire article »

Filed under: lawyers, Practice in General

Scary Numbers

I had a sentencing yesterday morning, and I arrived early because I hoped the court would call my client’s case first. The commissioner hearing the case usually likes to start with a group advisement of rights for all the defendants (if they’re all informed of their rights in advance, a judge can save some time because he won’t have to individually tell them what they’re giving up if they choose to enter a plea), but sometimes he’ll do a sentencing or two first if the attorneys get there early enough. While I was waiting for court to start, I had an interesting conversation with the bailiff. She said the morning calendar consisted of 14 sentencings and 90 pretrials. As I sat there, I thought about what those numbers … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts, Practice in General

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