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» Entries tagged with "disclosure"

We’re Gonna Need The Hardly Boys For This One…

It was a mystery for the ages, the crime of the century. A few scratcher lottery tickets and/or some cash swiped from a convenience store counter. In broad daylight. The nerve! Police interviewed the clerk, who said he didn’t just steal them himself. Being human polygraphs, officers cleared him right away.  Being forensic reconstruction experts too, they reviewed the surveillance video, which showed a lady quite clearly, but not much more. They immediately concluded there had been a crime. They got a lucky break because the clerk, who definitely didn’t just steal some stuff, got the license plate of the regular who committed the dastardly deed. Officers pulled the driver’s license photo associated with the plate and put it in a lineup that might as well have included a few … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prosecutors

Carbon Copy Criminal Defense

Arizona has pretty good discovery rules. The state has to disclose quite a bit fairly early in the process compared to many jurisdictions. The defense also has a duty to disclose, which mostly consists of providing the state with a list of witnesses, exhibits, and defenses that may be offered at trial. Courts generally don’t enforce the rules as they should, but they’re still quite helpful. At the very least, the defense gets enough to prevent nasty surprises in most cases. The notices themselves contain a lot of boilerplate language. Writing a disclosure notice from the ground up would waste time. Plus, things like diagrams of the scene and maps of the area aren’t normally the first thing a lawyer thinks about when mounting a … Read entire article »

Filed under: lawyers

Tipping Our Hand

People who don’t practice criminal defense tend to have a number of funny misconceptions about how the process works. Sadly, some people who do practice criminal defense also tend to have a number of funny misconceptions about how the process works. One huge area where non-practitioners and even some practitioners seem to get confused is disclosure. “We’d better not tip our hand,” I hear over and over again. In Arizona state courts, far more so than in federal court, the disclosure rules are quite extensive. The state must comply with all kinds of requirements as the case proceeds. At the arraignment, it must turn over all law enforcement reports as well as the names and addresses of experts and the results of completed physical examinations, scientific … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General, Procedural Rules

Discovery Fees

Some Arizona prosecuting agencies charge defense attorneys for copies of police reports and other discovery. For instance, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office charges $0.25 per page. They have you sign an invoice when you pick up the discovery, then they send you a bill. Most Maricopa County defense attorneys I know have at least one delinquent discovery bill from the county attorney sitting around their office. There’s not much point in writing a check for a dollar or two. A friend of mine told me about a defense attorney who was 90 days delinquent on a bill for $1.50 and wanted to go to the county attorney with $0.55 and ask to be put on a payment plan for the remainder. I don’t like the county … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Constitution, Procedural Rules, Prosecutors

Releasing Information

I was recently stuck in court dealing with a case that should have been dismissed long ago. The prosecutor thought my client wasn’t complying with the terms of a mental health diversion program, but I had personally verified that he was in compliance less than a day before. To satisfy the state and avoid reinstatement of the charges, I just needed to get some up-to-date written proof. My first step was to try to call my client’s mental health case manager. One person told me the case manager was on vacation, and another told me he was in court. They accidentally hung up on me twice. Eventually, I got through to a lady who seemed to be able to help me. I explained to her … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, Practice in General

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