Q: How do you get a mess of criminal-defense attorneys to call the Governor’s Office to advocate for stiffer sentences?

A: Advance a bill to her desk that pairs a reduction in penalties for DUI with a provision that largely eliminates the ability of a defendant to get a jury trial in DUI cases.

As the AP’s Paul Davenport reports here, it is unclear why the no-jury provision was added to the bill that was designed to reduce the amount of time a convicted person must use an ignition-interlock device.

Given the history of the original bill, though—written solely as a means to head off an even more defendant-friendly bill that would have reduced the interlock time even more drastically—it may just be a way to make defense lawyers pay a foot for the inch they had achieved.

But the ones I’ve spoken with have said the loss of jury trial is too great a price to pay for what they say was a reasonable interlock bill.

Because they did not just fall off the turnip truck, though, they tell me that they understand the chilly reception they would receive if a mass of them called the Governor’s Office urging a veto because their clients’ jury-trial right is sacrosanct.

Instead, they are urging her to veto because criminal sentences should remain stiff in Arizona.

Is your head spinning yet?

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