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Customer Service Self Help

I had the displeasure yesterday of spending quite some time in a court with about the most hostile staff around. As soon as I made it past the security guard, who was pretty friendly, I got nothing but scowls from the various clerks, who seemed to react to me with either anger that I dare interrupt their important work with my presence or concern that I might inconvenience them by asking them to do something for me. You’d think I was showing up to fire them or unleash some sort of horrible unpleasantness on the office. Lucky for them, I didn’t need any help prior to my hearing. They stopped glowering at me and returned to work as soon as I walked past their little area and into the prosecutor’s office. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts

How Important People Think

There aren’t nearly enough Arizona legal blogs, which is the primary reason why I keep the Arizona Appellate Blog in my feed. The constant use of “we” and “our” in posts that are either the product of a depressingly underwhelming group effort or the bizarrely haughty statements of an individual rub me the wrong way. So do somewhat regular comments that seem to indicate its author or authors believe they’re writing to a captivated audience awaiting each post with baited breath. If they are, I can’t imagine who comprises their audience. Regardless, it’s not a worthless blog, as it at least has original content and isn’t just blatantly pimping someone’s services. It’s a sad state of affairs where lawyers writing because they have something to say and not only something to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, lawyers, Uncategorized

The Posts at Mimesis Law Continue

I’m still posting twice a week at Mimesis Law. Here are my most recent posts: That asshole who hit that biker really needs a lawyer. People in the system sure protect their own. Sometimes, medical marijuana gives users more power than just legalizing it. Trial is risky. Aluminum foil hats are all the rage in Las Vegas. Whatever you do, don’t twerk a stranger in DC. What’s the right sentence for a hate crime? And this one went up today: Jared from Subway isn’t anything special. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Bikers' Rights, Courts, Drugs, Government Rants, Medical Marijuana

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

A Nice Thought, At Least

When a judge begins a dissent by calling something agents did “a profoundly disturbing use of government power that directly imperils some of our most fundamental constitutional values,” I expect it is going to be a good read. I also assume the case probably arose in Arizona, where most people seem to think fundamental constitutional values should be limited to an appreciation of the sacred right to have law enforcement make sure nobody but them breaks any laws. With the recent Ninth Circuit case of United States v. Black, I was right on both counts. The description of what happened from the dissent in Black is pretty much as spot-on as the analysis. As it explains, the government went to a “bad” part of town to find “bad” people to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Drugs

Are They Idiots Or Are They Liars?

I wouldn’t be writing about Mesa twice in row if I didn’t think it was all noteworthy. This time, though, I’m a little less cynical. I refuse to believe the judges at Mesa City Court are anywhere near as simple-minded and unfair as some of the prosecutors there claim. To give you some background, if you are charged with misdemeanor DUI in Arizona and your BAC is between 0.08 and 0.15, the mandatory minimum jail sentence is one day with nine days suspended. If your BAC is between 0.15 and 0.20, it’s nine days with twenty-one days suspended. Any misdemeanor DUI in Arizona could theoretically result in 180 days in jail, but I’ve never seen it happen, heard about it happening, or even realistically considered that any prosecutor could … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, DUI, Prosecutors

Move Along, No Preferential Treatment Here

Last Thursday, we faxed a motion to continue trial to Mesa Municipal Court at 10:02 a.m. We sent the state a copy too, of course, though we’d also told the assigned prosecutor what we were going to do the day before. The court called us at 2:25 p.m. and left a message about getting our position on the state’s motion to continue trial. That’s right, the state’s motion. Not ours. The motion the state didn’t bother faxing us until 3:45 p.m. I called the court back sometime shortly before 5:00 p.m. and spoke with a very pleasant lady. She wanted to know my position on the state’s motion. I told her we didn’t oppose it and had in fact filed our own motion. She asked … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts

Sucks Not Eating That Cake, Huh?

I covered a pretty amazing hearing recently. It wasn’t amazing because of anything I did. It was amazing because it perfectly showcased the disastrous impact of mandatory sentencing rules and a culture of punishment and cruelty not just on defendants, but on victims. The client was accused of taking money from a family trust. He was left out of it, but his cousins weren’t. He allegedly drained the trust using forged checks. At his first sentencing, the victims said how they weren’t going to get to go to college. He took their college fund, apparently, and now they had to take out student loans. At least one of them wanted to punish him with a long prison sentence. All of them wanted him to repay … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Prosecutors, Victim's Rights

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Pinal County has some amazingly friendly people working court security. One guy always used to ask to borrow my car. Another would demand a check made out to him for parking in the public lot in front of the courthouse. Once, after a bit of a hiatus from handling cases there, I came back to court with facial hair. As I passed through the metal detector, one guy got on the radio and said, “we’re gonna need a razor down here.” Upon closer inspection of the quality of beard I had, he got on the radio again. “Better make that a child’s safety razor.” The guy standing in the back with an enviable handlebar mustache got a real chuckle out of that one. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts

Who Needs Lawyers Anyway?

I came across a fascinating post about the unauthorized practice of law after Mauricio Hernandez at the Irreverent Lawyer wrote a post of his own discussing it. It was the sort of thing that took a little time for me to digest before writing about it. For those too lazy to click through, the original article is about a woman with a very strong background in criminal law who moved here then took and passed the Arizona bar before becoming a capital staff attorney in Maricopa County. Ignoring some off-putting personal attacks that may or may not be deserved and a bizarre part in the closing paragraph that tries to make it a red-state-blue-state political problem, it’s a thought-provoking piece about the flagrant unauthorized practice of law by a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Ethics, lawyers, Practice in General, Professionalism

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