» Entries tagged with "rules of criminal procedure"

The Factual Basis

Hang around most Arizona courts for a little while, and you’re likely to see a plea fall through for lack of a factual basis. For those readers who don’t know what I’m talking about, Arizona’s rules of criminal procedure require that a court determine whether a factual basis exists for each element of the crime to which a defendant is pleading before it can enter judgment on a guilty plea. Evidence constituting the factual basis can come from any part of the record or from a defendant’s statements. There’s no reasonable doubt standard for a guilty plea. Instead, the court just has to find strong evidence of guilt. In a few courts, the plea will simply have a provision that says, “factual basis taken from police report … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Practice in General

Tribal Courts

Practicing law in Indian Country is a unique experience. I once had a tribal judge deny a motion to suppress in a possession of marijuana case because she thought my client did in fact possess the marijuana. I also did a change of plea once where the judge asked my client if he wished to change his plea, and after my client said “yes,” the judge said “okay, done” and called the next case. Tribal criminal codes are equally interesting. Where I’ve practiced, murder, possession of marijuana, and running a pyramid scheme are all punishable by a maximum of one year in custody. However, one year is not necessarily the max in tribal jurisdictions, as judges can and do stack counts, and the federal government often steps … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, Indian Law

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