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.

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