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

What The Hell Do They Want?

A former client of mine contacted me a while back asking for help with a situation that makes my blood boil. He’s a smart guy and a good person, but his life has been a constant struggle, a fight to escape a hard life of poverty and mental illness. He never got any of the luck breaks most of us have had at some point or another. For a while, it seemed like he was on the right track, though. Sadly, he found himself in trouble again. That was when he called. I could’ve been disappointed, but I mostly just felt awful for him. I wanted to give him a hug and go back in time to make everything right, but that’s never going to … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

I Don’t

Forbes, and more recently Oliver Burkeman, have both discussed the important and interesting difference between “I don’t” and “I can’t” when it comes to breaking bad habits. They note that studies have actually shown that saying something like “I can’t eat that extra cookie” is far less effective at preventing you from eating that extra cookie than saying “I don’t eat extra cookies.” It works in all kinds of other areas too, apparently. Although both articles talk about why that is, each explaining in different ways how “I don’t” is a choice while “I can’t” is a restriction, neither touches on a potential deeper reason for the difference or explores its broader implications. Consider the implications about who the “you” is in the statement when you’re saying “I … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

They Just Want Your Money

On Monday, I got to hear an elderly gentleman get sentenced for a first-time super extreme DUI (one where his blood alcohol concentration was over 0.20%) as I waited for the court to call my client’s case. He was so nervous he was shaking, and at one point, he begged the judge to not send him to jail. She told him something about how she would have to send her own brother for jail for that charge because the legislature set a mandatory minimum sentence. She also added a little comment about seeing people with a third of his BAC being involved in fatal collisions. How that could be the case seeing how she’s a misdemeanor court judge and doesn’t seem the type to go to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Government Rants

A People In Whom The Desire To Punish Is Strong

There are great posts today over at both Simple Justice and A Public Defender about the press’s generally abominable coverage of criminal justice issues and the public’s highly skewed view of the system. It seems people just can’t let go of the idea that criminals everywhere are running rampant despite our increasing willingness to dole out ever-harsher punishments and live with an ever-growing prison population. I’m reminded of a case that’s been all over the news here in Arizona. A few years ago, stories about the supposed “honor killing” of a young woman by her father in the suburb of Peoria were everywhere. The daughter of Iraqi immigrants, her father had apparently became enraged by her lifestyle, which by all accounts seemed to be typical of American girls … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

Understanding People

TED is a wealth of inspiration. I recently watched a talk by Andrew Stanton, who wrote Toy Story. Discussing the story’s hero, Woody, he explained the character’s selfishness in the context of his various other, more positive attributes. He noted something to the effect that we are all willing to act certain ways as long as certain conditions are met. It’s true. Experience has taught me that people are rarely just bad. People are filled with desires; they want certain conditions to be met. Some want the sun and moon but thrive in modern society on far less. Others want something very simple and violate society’s norms in all kinds of horrible ways fulfilling their desires. In many instances, the issue isn’t any … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, Practice in General

Ex Post Facto Registration

I’ve written before about sex offender registration, which is required in Arizona for a variety of offenses. For many defendants, having to register is one of most unpalatable consequences of a conviction. It’s embarrassing. It forces them to remain in contact with the same evil government that rode roughshod over their rights to get a conviction in the first place. They end up living their lives being tracked like animals released into the wild, trying to move on but with a class four felony perpetually hanging over their heads. Strangely, people who accept a plea knowing they face registration may be the lucky ones. Many defendants with old Arizona convictions and people moving here from other states have ended up having to register even though they … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Constitution, Sex Crimes, US Constitution

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