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

99.9996 Percent Of Prosecutors Are Better Than That

I wrote last week about the first of a great series of articles at the Arizona Republic tackling the subject of prosecutorial misconduct. A surprisingly touchy and defensive group, apparently, some of the biggest-name prosecutors in the state shot back with a group response entitled “Hard-working prosecutors don’t deserve this ‘hack job.'” It went on to read, “Attorneys: Let’s set the record straight, in the interest of justice.” As much as the sassy title probably drew an “Aw, snap!” from every prosecutor whose delicate feelings were bruised by the mean old Arizona Republic’s thought-provoking article, the response from prosecutors didn’t really have much going for it after the title. In fact, it lost me in the first paragraph with this ridiculous statement: A prosecutor’s first duty is to justice, … Read entire article »

Filed under: 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

The Shame of Doing Wrong

If you’re ashamed of what you’re doing, maybe you should reconsider doing it. It seems simple enough, right? I frequently deal with people who have serious substance abuse and mental health issues. They are usually fairly aware of their problems. Although many are incapable of fixing them, I see complete denial less often than I would have expected before I began practicing law. The shameful rock bottom moment, typically the moment that led to them needing my services, is the sort of thing that makes most of them shudder. The embarrassment can help commit them to change, but it can also depress them, leading right back onto the destructive path that caused the problem in the first place. Whether awareness of the need to change … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prosecutors

The Source

Lawyers as a group tend to be dissatisfied. They’re dissatisfied with the work they’re doing. They’re dissatisfied with the money they’re making. Clients are frustrating, courts are frustrating, and the practice of law isn’t what they thought it would be. Why? The truth is that the work is great. It’s intellectually challenging. Maybe not if you’re shuffling one client after another through an assembly line, but if you’re litigating cases and going to trial when appropriate, it’s everything any bright-eyed law student could ever hope for. It’s an intellectual feast. The money is also great. Even with law school debt, bar exam debt, business-starting debt, and whatever personal baggage you bring in, your time is still worth an enormous amount of money. Good … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

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

The Way They Think

I know a lot of nice prosecutors. I know prosecutors who care about justice. A few of them care about people too. Unfortunately, some of the other prosecutors I know don’t care much about anything except for hurting criminal defendants. The legislature gives them permission to ruin lives, and they relish the opportunity. One of my clients is charged with first-time DUI, and she has a very long history of medical problems. She’s had five back surgeries in the time I’ve represented her. She has to take special precautions just to make it through a day of work, and she sees doctors pretty much constantly. Spending a lot of time in jail would be disastrous for her health. I obtained documentation from medical … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Prosecutors

An Unfortunate Correlation

Prosecutors vary. They vary in intelligence. They vary in competence. Most importantly (to the majority of criminal defendants, at least), they vary in harshness. Some prosecutors demand blood for the tiniest little mistakes. Others are capable of feeling compassion. I can usually strike a judge and occasionally even change the venue altogether, but I’m pretty much stuck with the prosecutor who’s assigned. That can sometimes be a major determining factor if not the major determining factor in the outcome of a case. I just finished handling a somewhat complex drug case in a rural county. The first prosecutor on the case was a very competent younger attorney. She knew the case like the back of her hand and considered it a serious … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prosecutors

Fighting Stupid With Stupid

A lot of my biker friends have a patch on their jackets that says, “if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” Apparently, the quote originates from W. C. Fields. In some ways, it’s great advice for a trial lawyer. People tend to be judgmental. They’re also easily confused. Those are usually characteristics that the prosecution can readily use to its advantage. People want to love or hate someone, and if the person on the stand doesn’t make sense to them, hate tends to be the default reaction. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen a prosecutor confuse a defense witness, and subsequently the jury, with idiotic questions. More often, the prosecution preys on the ignorance of the jurors writ large and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Trial

Wasting Scottsdale’s Resources

If I lived in Scottsdale and paid city taxes, I’d be picketing the city attorney’s office right now. Some of their policies waste public money like it’s going out of style. I’ve complained before about prosecutors offering pleas with no benefit and defense attorneys enabling them by letting their clients plead, but Scottsdale elevates the non-bargain to an art. They’ve institutionalized extreme ignorance about the concept of bargaining altogether, and the results are amazing. If you’re charged with regular DUI and your blood alcohol falls in the uppermost part of the range, they offer you a plea to 3 days of jail. You’d get 1 day losing at trial. When they aren’t anti-negotiating, they typically offer you the same thing you’d get at trial. Across … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Prosecutors

How to Explain Relapse (Or Not)

I can’t count how many times I’ve stood next to someone being sentenced for personal drug possession. Some are just unlucky, ocassional users, but many more are addicts. They’ve tried to stop using meth or heroine or whatever other drug has them in its grip, but they can’t. They have periods of sobriety. They get their lives together, only to relapse when the next big tragedy comes along. When they’re at their worst, they always seem to find themselves on the wrong side of the law. I’ve noticed recovering addicts like to stress the importance of living one day at a time, of not letting setbacks cause them to give up and ruin all of their progress. Tomorrow’s a new day. Learn from today’s … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts

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