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Predictability

The folks at the MVD tell me that, if you do your administrative suspension before you are convicted of DUI, you can get a restricted license after thirty days and avoid having to get expensive SR22 insurance. They say you won’t get those benefits if you are convicted first. Speaking with former clients, however, the ones who do the admin per se suspension first do indeed experience what the MVD predicted, but so do the ones who get convicted first. I haven’t called the MVD to argue with them about why they didn’t screw my clients like they said they would. The folks at jail tell me that, if the order of confinement for a day of jail says “one day,” they will hold my clients for a … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Government Rants, jail

One Day Of Jail And A Whole Lotta Pain In The Ass

Quite often, criminal punishments are harsh not because they involve a lot of jail time or heavy fines, but because of the irritating hoops you have to jump through to satisfy them. It’s most common in Phoenix DUI cases, and it reaches its irritating extreme for out of state DUI defendants trying to do their jail sentence someplace else. Come on vacation, leave on probation It’s a common little joke around here, and in my line of work, I see it in action constantly. Whether we’re the destination for the Superbowl, a golf tournament, a biker rally, or a high school spring break field trip, we make sure our cops work around the clock so no vacationer escapes without having to respect our authoritah. The poor guy who lives elsewhere, who … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, jail

Understanding the System

The criminal justice system excels at creating frustrating situations. It might be the only thing it does well. I recently ran up against a situation that was not only frustrating, but also a perfect example of a Catch-22. To get a client released from custody, I needed to get her accepted into an approved rehab facility. She could only get into the approved rehab facilities by doing an intake appointment. The facilities only set intake appointments for people who are out of custody. Initially, I would encounter similar situations and become angry. I assumed they were caused by incompetence and thought the people in charge would fix it if they knew what they’d done. Although my anger began to diminish as I encountered those situations over … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts, Government Rants, jail

Sounds Great

I’ve noticed that people in law enforcement, much like people in the military, have a tendency to use terms that sound quite impressive to refer to relatively ordinary things. They say “egress” instead of “exit,” and they seem to have acronyms for everything. I was amused by one example of this earlier in the week. There’s been a big issue at one particular jail about attorneys wanting to do visits in the actual pods where the inmates are housed. For some reason, jail staff hate it. They would rather have the lawyers visit their clients in little visitation rooms where an officer has to open a trap every time the lawyer needs to hand the client something. I have no clue why. Because the lawyer and client … Read entire article »

Filed under: jail

That's Just What They Need

Waiting for a visit at the federal correctional facility in Florence earlier today, I noticed a poster on the wall. Maybe it’s been there for a while, but I’d never noticed it before. It’s a black poster that says “ZERO TOLERANCE” in big, neon green letters. Next to that, I noticed it said something about suicide prevention. I quickly realized it was a poster informing viewers that the facility had a zero tolerance policy when it comes to suicide. There must be something wrong with me, as I found the poster amusing. It took me a second to put my finger on just why that was. Maybe CCA intended to have zero tolerance when it comes to employees who facilitate suicide among inmates, but if … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, jail

We're Insane

My brother sent me a link to this CEPR study about the cost of incarceration a few weeks ago. After reading the entire thing, I was speechless. The topic of the study seemed so familiar, yet the numbers were so much more stunning than I ever could have imagined. I scoured blogs to see if someone else had posted about it, yet I found only one article. Let me know if I’ve missed others. The statistics are incredible: we now incarcerate 240% more people than we did in 1980; in 2008, one out of every 48 working-age men was in prison or jail; non-violent offenders make up over 60% of the prison and jail population; drug offenders now account for about one-fourth of all offenders behind bars. Those are just some of the numbers that … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, jail

Another One Bites The Dust (Updated)

*** I wrote this post after reading about the case in the news and hearing courthouse gossip about what happened to David DeCosta. The police reports reveal a very different set of facts, which I discuss here. *** About a year ago, a defense attorney named Jason Keller got busted smuggling heroin to inmates. The Maricopa County criminal defense bar was abuzz with talk of his supposed meth addiction and involvement with the Mexican Mafia. At the time, he represented a client named Jesse Alejandro in a murder conspiracy case. His client became his co-defendant. A few weeks ago, another defense attorney, David DeCosta, got busted for doing more or less the same thing. Apparently, he was trying to sneak drugs to a client in … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, jail, lawyers, News

Jail: US v. Mexico

I recently met with a potential client who is a Mexican citizen. He doesn’t reside in the United States and is absolutely terrified of doing any time in jail in Arizona. That isn’t exactly an unusual feeling for a person to have, but this guy should be capable of holding his own in a tough situation. He is familiar with our country. I don’t want to say what he does for a living, not because it is illegal, but because I don’t want to impact his career in case someone starts snooping into his life. Suffice it to say, this guy shouldn’t really be worried about a few days in the county jailhouse. It got me thinking. Do people in Mexico fear our jails like … Read entire article »

Filed under: jail

Annoying Jail Policies

Their potentially disastrous mistake involving inmate placement isn’t the only complaint I have about the Pinal County Jail. They’ve recently instituted some extremely annoying new visitation policies that sometimes make custody visits impossible. They will not schedule visits from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Most of the superior court judges have 8:30 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. morning dockets and 1:30 p.m. afternoon dockets, so it is often impossible to make it from your hearings to jail before visitation ends at 10:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. If you want to do a visit at 12:30 p.m., there’s only a short window of time to visit before you will have to leave for afternoon hearings. If you want to do a visit at … Read entire article »

Filed under: jail, Practice in General

Victim Safety

Last year, I had in a Pinal County felony case where the plea agreement stipulated to probation and the state agreed to release my client to pretrial services at the time of the change of plea. After my client entered his change of plea, however, the court refused to release him, citing victim safety and the violent nature of the crime. When I later met with my client, he was irritated by the court’s ruling, but not for the reasons I expected. His question was, “if they’re so worried about the victim, why did they make him my cellmate?” My eyes grew big, and at first, I didn’t believe him. Later on, I found out that, sure enough, the victim had indeed been picked up by the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts, jail, Victim's Rights

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