February 2013


A few of the Bar Flys smile after completing the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, January 2013.

A few of the Bar Flys smile after completing the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, January 2013.

News from the State Bar of Arizona:

“State Bar members, employees, Arizona law school students, and Arizona law school faculty members—83 in all—successfully participated in P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon ‘Get Fit Challenge.’ This year’s ‘Bar Flys’ team was the largest group participating in the Corporate Medium category.”

Thank you, as always, to Bar Counsel David Sandweiss, who leads the Bar Flys Team. He told me that this year, they had more law student participants than ever. Well done.

For more detail and a list of all the hardy runners, keep reading here.

ASU Law Journal for Social Justice logoToday, some news from a noteworthy journal at the ASU College of Law:

“On March 1, join the Law Journal for Social Justice for a daylong symposium featuring attorneys, judges, community advocates, and legal scholars as we examine how to transform an inherently unfair criminal justice system into one that values fairness and efficiency.”

“Featured speaker Paul Charlton, former U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, leads off the day with a discussion about ethics and sentencing reform. Other panel topics include vulnerable populations in the criminal justice system, the mental health crisis within the criminal justice system and ways to reform the system in a more fair and efficient way.”

More information on speakers, the agenda and a link to register are here.

And be sure to follow the journal on Facebook here.

ASU Justice conference March 2013 agenda and poster

“Do we really have enough water? Really?

And thus began an intriguing panel last week on the topic of water in a desert climate. Anyone interested in water law—or in drinking, cooking or living in Arizona—should be attuned to the evolving conversation. This one occurred at Monorchid Gallery in downtown Phoenix. (It had been calendared for the Downtown Public Market, but rain—of all things—brought the event indoors.)

L to R: Heather Macre, Marc Campbell and Paul Hirt speak at a water resources panel, Feb. 20, 2013, Monorchid Gallery, Phoenix.

L to R: Heather Macre, Marc Campbell and Paul Hirt speak at a water resources panel, Feb. 20, 2013, Monorchid Gallery, Phoenix.

The panel was sponsored by Women Design Arizona and Blooming Rock Development. It is their second annual lecture series on “sustainable urbanism” in the Phoenix area.

The speakers had a wide variety of experience in water issues:

  • Heather Macre, a lawyer and member of the Central Arizona Conservation Water Board
  • Marc Campbell, a senior water rights analyst at Salt River Project
  • Paul Hirt, a historian at ASU

They covered a lot of ground (and groundwater) in their far-ranging conversation.

Macre mentioned the battles over the Navajo Generating Station, for which the EPA has advised requires huge and expensive changes.

Navajo Generating Station

Navajo Generating Station

Assuming improvements costs $1 billion (with a b) or more, Macre pointed out that we may have to reassess water pricing.

Other panelists took up the pricing topic. Paul Hirt relayed a humorous story demonstrating that water in Arizona is even cheaper than dirt. He got estimates on having a ton of clean topsoil delivered to his house. A ton of clean water (according to WikiAnswers, about 240 gallons) delivered from SRP would cost about 20 times the dirt cost.

“20 times cheaper,” Hirt marveled, “to get this precious, life-giving resource.”

In 1970, Hirt said, Tucson attempted to raise water rates. They began the process in the suburbs, the foothills of the Catalina Mountains, where the higher elevation equaled higher pumping costs.

Unwisely, perhaps, those first efforts at more accurately pricing water occurred in June, among homes of wealthy and well-connected people. The homeowners revolted, and Tucson has never reinstituted higher rates.

The SRP’s Marc Campbell urged attendees to examine all of the choices we make, as individuals and communities.”We need to ponder why we’re sitting in a desert city. We have to pick up the gauntlet, solve the problems.”

For Macre, solutions begin by reexamining relations we thought we understood. For instance, she says she tells people, “When you turn on a lightbulb, you’re using water. When you turn on your faucet, you’re using electricity.” Connections we always imagine to be intrinsically related may be just the opposite.

She echoed the other speakers when she mentioned the down economy as a time of opportunity. The “pause” in the economy may give us the chance to strategize and learn how we want to answer the question “Do we have enough water?”

Her answer? “Yes, but ….”

What’s your answer?

Congratulations to Taz Loomens, Blooming Rock, Tiffany Halperin and Women Design Arizona for an eye-opening conversation.

Rehnquist Center banner logoSo far, my overscheduled Tuesday looks like it won’t accommodate a trip south to Tucson. And that’s really too bad. (Well, that’s too bad most any day, but it’s especially the case on February 26.)

The reason I’d like to drop by the University of Arizona Law School is to attend an oral argument—before the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, of all legal bodies.

Here is how the Court describes itself and its civilian judges:

“The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces exercises worldwide appellate jurisdiction over members of the armed forces on active duty and other persons subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Court is composed of five civilian judges appointed for 15-year terms by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.”

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces sealThe Rehnquist Center at the law school has announced the morning event, during which law students will have the opportunity to argue; those same students have already filed an amicus brief in the case.

The Center says that the Court has never traveled to Tucson. But if that’s not enough of a draw, here are the case facts:

“GCM conviction of possession of child pornography, larceny of military property and filing a false claim. Granted issues question (1) whether the military judge abused his discretion when he failed to suppress evidence of child pornography discovered on Appellant’s personal computer in the course of an unreasonable search conducted to find contraband after Appellant was wounded in Iraq and medically evacuated to the United States; and (2) whether the Army Court erred in creating a new exception to the Fourth Amendment when it held that the Government’s search of Appellant’s personal computer was reasonable because the Government was not ‘certain’ or ‘absolutely clear’ that it would be returned to the wounded-warrior Appellant.”

From where I sit, that is a fascinating Fourth Amendment question. (Although didn’t the U.S. Supreme Court this past Term examine a question related to privacy rights on a school computer that could possibly be returned to the employer? What case was that? Anyone?) (Recently, Canada’s Supreme Court took the view that folks do have some measure of privacy, even on their work-issued computer. O Canada.)

More information about the Tuesday morning arguments is here. Included among the detail are the argument briefs (in PDF).

Renouncing Citizenship article, Arizona Attorney Magazine, Dec. 2012

Renouncing Citizenship article, Arizona Attorney Magazine, Dec. 2012

A news story—about renouncing U.S. citizenship—caught my eye recently. And no, it’s not because I’m thinking of moving my loved ones and every asset to some island nation.

The reason this story intrigued me is that we covered the same topic recently in Arizona Attorney Magazine. But our take was a bit different.

The Yahoo story made quite a bit about the tax savings that could be achieved by renouncing your citizenship and expatriating. It mentioned—with scant evidence—that renunciations are on the increase due to higher taxes. A close look at the article shows that the answer is: Maybe. Maybe not.

Our article in the December issue didn’t seek to suggest anyone should beat a hasty retreat. But it did describe the process required, as well as a few reasons clients have given for their significant decision.

You can read “Adiós, Uncle Sam: Renouncing U.S. Citizenship” (by attorneys Susan Willis McFadden and Kay Kavanagh) here.

And now, because it’s Change of Venue Friday, you really should enjoy a brief video from a hilarious Tulsa newscast that touches on the expatriate subject. Following the 2012 presidential election (as in every election), quite a few people loudly declaimed that they would move to Canada if their candidate lost.

Taking them at their word, this Oklahoma traffic reporter added a unique twist to what is typically very local coverage.

Enjoy your weekend; I hope you beat the traffic.

AZ Supreme Court logoToday, I share some news and request for comment from the Arizona Supreme Court. Your input could have an impact on the disposition of future cases as they proceed through Arizona courts.

Here is the news from the Court:

In 2011, the National Center for State Courts published the “Model Time Standards for State Trial Courts.” These standards for the disposition of cases in the state courts were developed and adopted by the Conference of State Court Administrators, the Conference of Chief Justices, the American Bar Association House of Delegates, and the National Association for Court Managers.

Model case processing time standards provide a reasonable set of expectations for courts, lawyers and the public. Part of the vision for Arizona’s Judicial Branch, as set forth in its Justice 2020 Strategic Agenda, is to strengthen the administration of justice. Timely justice promotes public trust and confidence in the courts. The establishment of case processing time standards emphasizes the need for judicial officers and court personnel to renew focus on this essential part of their work.

The Arizona Supreme Court Case Processing Standards Steering Committee is gathering input and feedback from all key justice partners regarding the establishment of case processing standards for Arizona courts.

Steering Committee Preliminary Recommendations

The Steering Committee has completed a review of the national time standards, statutory requirements, court rules, court jurisdiction and other relevant factors in the development of case processing standards for Arizona. The preliminary recommendations for case processing standards in the superior, justice and municipal courts have been posted on the link below and you are invited to post your comments. Please feel free to share this website with members of the legal community in your jurisdiction.

Comment Period

The comment period runs through March 29, 2013. The Steering Committee will review the comments posted on the website and make the appropriate revisions to the proposed case processing standards. A final draft of the proposed case processing standards will be presented to the following standing committees for recommendation to the Arizona Judicial Council: Committee on Superior Court; Limited Jurisdiction Committee; Committee on Juvenile Courts; Commission on Victims in the Courts; and Committee on the Impact of Domestic Violence in the Courts.

Submit Your Comments Online Here.

The link above will take you to the registration page. To view the case processing standards webpage you will need to register first. Click on register and complete the information on the page. If you have previously registered on the website enter your username and password.

For more information contact:

Committee Staff:

Cindy Cook at ccook@courts.az.gov

Phoenix School of Law Lawyers as Peacemakers conferenceYou are: Planning to attend a noteworthy legal conference, but would like the opportunity to use your writing and reporting skills to share a follow-up with Arizona’s legal community.

We are: Arizona’s legal community, eager to share your story on the magazine blog.

The Phoenix School of Law Lawyers as Peacemakers and Healers Conference runs this Friday night through Sunday. Currently, it appears no one here at the magazine will be able to attend this remarkable gathering. But if you’re planning to be there and would like to write a story, with attribution, we would like to talk with you.

Ideally, likely writers will be unaffiliated with the conference except as an attendee. Lawyers and law students who have an interest should contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Here is the website for the Lawyers as Peacemakers and Healers Conference, which runs February 22 through 24. And you can Like it on Facebook here.

For background, click here for last year’s program.

And as a great service to the legal community, event organizers have posted video recordings of all presentations from last year.

Mark Harrison

Mark Harrison

Last week we heard some great news about an Arizona lawyer from the national organization Justice at Stake.

Mark Harrison is a member at Osborn Maledon, as well as the board chairman of Justice at Stake. On February at the midyear meeting of the American Bar Association in Dallas, he was given the 2013 Burnham “Hod” Greeley Award.

As a press release indicates, he was honored “for making a significant, positive impact on public understanding of the role of the judiciary in a democratic society.”

Justice at Stake is committed to aiding the judiciary. It “promotes increased public awareness of the need for a fair and impartial judiciary.” As the organization describes itself:

“Justice at Stake is a nonpartisan, nonprofit campaign working to keep America’s courts fair and impartial. Justice at Stake and its 50-plus state and national partners educate the public, and work for reforms to keep politics and special interests out of the courtroom—so judges can protect our Constitution, our rights and the rule of law.”

Gavel Grab adds a mention that Harrison “has worked as president of Justice for All, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving a strong and impartial judiciary in Arizona.”

But … am I missing something? Unmentioned in the accolades is the fact that Mark was once the President of the State Bar of Arizona. Sure, Justice at Stake writes that he “led the local Bar with distinction,” but who the heck is that “local bar,” anyway? It was the SBA.

Maybe the omission signals a reduced “wow” factor associated with being a state bar president. But that would surprise me. I know that folks at Mark Harrison’s level have a drawerful of accolades and high-level experience. But even given that, bar president on the state level usually merits a mention.

And why not mention it? Isn’t the mentioning the only real payoff for the work of leading a bar? Remember, the days of a bar president are littered with meetings regarding section revenues, and lunches with tiny civic organizations, and information-sharing trips to exciting venues like Dallas or Duluth or a legislative grilling chair. After all that work, why not drop the title occasionally?

In any case, congratulations to Mark Harrison. We at the local bar look forward to continuing to collaborate with him on important issues.

Dean Erwin Chemerinsky

Dean Erwin Chemerinsky

At noon today, the annual Willard Pedrick Lecture will be delivered at the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

The speaker will be Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the UC–Irvine School of Law. His topic will be “Rethinking Privacy and the Fourth Amendment.” It’s likely too late for you to reserve one of the free seats, but it may be worth a shot to drop by anyway (many of the seats reserved for students are still not taken).

I had the chance to interview Dean Chemerinsky early in 2012 for a Q&A in Arizona Attorney. I’m confident his lecture will be worth hearing.

That’s why I’m disappointed to note that I’ll be unable to attend today’s lecture. But I’d love to hear from someone who was there. If you do attend and are interested in guest-writing a blog post about his remarks, please write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Here is some background about the dean, as provided by ASU Law School:

“Chemerinsky is one of the nation’s top experts in constitutional law, federal practice, civil liberties, and appellate litigation. He is the author of seven books, the latest being The Conservative Assault on the Constitution. Chemerinsky’s casebook, Constitutional Law, is one of the most widely read law textbooks in the country. He has also written nearly 200 law review articles in journals, such as the Harvard Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Northwestern Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Stanford Law Review and Yale Law Journal.”

“Chemerinsky frequently argues appellate cases, including matters before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals, and regularly serves as a commentator on legal issues for national and local media. He holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.S. from Northwestern University.”

Chris Bliss speaks at the dedication of the nation's first capitol-city Bill of Rights Monument, Dec. 15, 2012

Chris Bliss speaks at the dedication of the nation’s first capitol-city Bill of Rights Monument, Dec. 15, 2012

In the current Arizona Attorney Magazine, I took the opportunity to channel our inner James Madison. Who wouldn’t like to do that?

The occasion was my editor’s letter in which I praised the recent dedication of a Bill of Rights Monument in Phoenix. (detail is here).

It was an impressive event, as was the concept itself. I’m still stunned at the commitment and success of Chris Bliss, Executive Director of mybillofrights.org.

So in case you missed it, here is my own riff on one of this nation’s most important documents. And tell me: How you would have transformed the Bill of Rights? Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org. And have a great weekend.

Here is my column:

There are few events for which Arizonans will stand in the drizzle. We may be a hardy people, but precipitation strains our resolve.

In December, the presence of a light rain simply added to the noteworthy nature of a historic and well-attended event: the dedication of the nation’s first capitol-city monument to the Bill of Rights.

Congratulations to organizer Chris Bliss, generous Arizona lawyers, legislative leaders and others who made the limestone monoliths a reality.

Our Last Word this month includes the eloquent remarks by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton that day (more background and photos are here and here).

In honor of the achievement, I offer—à la the Bill of Rights itself—10 ways that the ceremony and the accomplishment impress:

I. The Weather shall make no drizzle that keeps a committed People from their celebration of a unique Bill of Rights, as they enjoy gathering, assembling, speaking and sharing space with chilly members of the Press.

II. A well-organized Program, being necessary to the success of an early-morning event, the right of a cold and coffee-deprived people to be exhilarated by concepts of liberty, shall not be infringed.

III. No Speaker did, without the at-least-grudging consent of the assembled People, go on and on in a Tyrannical manner or in a style proscribed by Common Sense.

IV. The right of the People to be reassured that their elected leaders of all Parties support and defend liberty shall not be violated.

V. No monument to our own Bill of Rights shall be relegated to a back corner of our State’s Capitol plaza, but shall be given a place of Prominence and Respect, where viewers may appreciate the Liberties espoused, sited hard against a monument to brave servicepeople who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of those liberties.

VI. In the development of public Monuments, Arizonans shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public process, yielding an awe-inspiring setting achieved through the impartial efforts of many people, and with the assistance of Counsel—Arizona attorneys who stepped up in amazing ways.

VII. In Monuments to which we have grown accustomed, where the cost has skyrocketed beyond Imagining, the right of the People to have a Monument erected with the expenditure of no Public Monies, at a modest cost and with a noteworthy portion of donated contributions, shall be preserved.

VIII. Excessive verbiage or sponsor names shall not be required, nor excessive ornaments imposed, for the simple words of the Bill of Rights are sufficient, and the sculptor’s stunning simplicity of vision shall foreclose the possible infliction on succeeding Generations of a cruel and unusual Artifice.

IX. The enumeration in this Monument of certain rights arose as the vision of a single man, who brought humor, drive and equanimity to the challenge of delivering a limestone embodiment to the people of Arizona, and in the process helped present what may be the best comedy concert fund-raiser in the history of these United States.

X. The power of this dedication Ceremony shall remind all present or hereafter standing in silent appreciation of the Monoliths that these rights, like the final word of the Bill of Rights, reside in and end with “the People.”

Arizona Attorney Magazine Editor Letter Feb 2013 Bill of Rights

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