January 2011

At Arizona Attorney Magazine, we have been known to claim that we represent “Arizona law with a global viewpoint.” Now, we have some evidence for that assertion.

In December, a delegation of judges and lawyers from Turkey visited the United States. And Arizona was honored that we were one of a short list of their must-stop locations.

It wasn’t just our glorious December weather that drew them here. They explained that this state’s high-quality judges (and merit selection), as well as the good reputation of our lawyers, was the attraction.

I wrote about their visit to the State Bar of Arizona here. And then I followed up with a related story in Arizona Attorney Magazine’s February issue (online February 1).

But our online story caused a bit of a ruckus – not a full-blown international incident or anything, but still a minor cause célèbre (as they say across the Pond).

As reported to me, the “fallout in Turkey” included the following.

Apparently, a Turkish newspaper, called Venicag, found our story and photo on this blog site. That led them to publish the photo that I took (credit, please!?) on the front page of their newspaper.

My photo of the visit by judges from Turkey

I’m told that the newspaper is very anti-government, and that their article claims the Turkish government was hiding secret meetings with the United States. Essentially, it asserted that the Turkish Ministry of Justice was in the States to learn how to create a federalist system within Turkey.

So I guess no good deed goes unpunished. So much for covering local dignitaries.

In the meeting I attended at the State Bar, I didn’t spy any scheming. Of course, I didn’t attend the rodeo with them, so who knows what was discussed at the roundup.

We made the Turkish tabloids!

If you are multilingual, you can read the original story online here.

If not, here is a translation of the Venicag story (I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the translation).

Here is the Hidden Picture

“We find the system ideal”

Ministry of Justice Undersecretary Ahmet Kahraman and eight head of the department judges have examined state system in Washington, Colorado and Arizona. Head of the Arizona Court of Appeals Daniel Barker said the Delegation has told him “We found Arizona system ideal”. National Security Council says “One nation, one state”; there is a state system research in U.S. This is the picture of 2011 Turkey…

The secret communication between U.S. and Turkish Justice Ministries was taken to Parliament and Minister Ergin had left questions unanswered. The next picture which shows Turkish and American delegations together documented the contacts which Minister of Justice is trying to hide persistently.

Depending on the information Yilmaz Polat provided, we had informed public before that Minister of Justice Sadullah Ergin participated in a meeting at Atlantic Council named institution which former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman is a member of board of management. The Istanbul MP of Republican Peoples Party (CHP), Ahmet Tan gave a parliamentary question to Presidency of Turkish Grand National Assembly and asked “ Does your meetings are related to wikileaks documents? Is the aim of this trip is to increase information and experience on site? Upon the order of the Prime Minister, is there any work is being made related to transformation to state system? Will there be any arrangements related to state system among the constitution changes which your government promised to do after the 2011 elections?”

Ergin was not able to answer these questions. Yilmaz Polat popped another news when we were on leave and informed that he has made it confirmed that Ergin has met with Edelman in the mentioned meeting. Ergin again has not made any explanation.

Polat has sent us an information, document and picture of Justice Ministry Ahmet Kahraman and eight judges’ U.S.  visit. The picture is taken from U.S. press. According to the information U.S. officials  gave, With invitation of OPDAT, Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training, an institution of U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. covering costs of the trip, Ministry of Justice Undersecretary Ahmet Kahraman and eight Head of the Department judges examined state legal system between the dates 2-11 December in Washington, Colorado (Denver) and Arizona (Phoenix). In order to resolve shortages in the Turkish legal system, the Arizona system was found ideal.

The Delegation went to Arizona after Denver and met with Head of the Court of Appeals Judge Daniel Barker, and was in touch with Supreme Court and Federal Court.

The Judge Daniel Barker said the Delegation told him that “We believe that there are shortages about guaranteeing public’s confidence in Turkish legal system. For this reason, we examine Arizona system which we know that it made a big progress.”

Head of the Arizona Bar John Phelps and Secretary General John Furlog also gave a briefing to Delegation around one hour at the Arizona Bar.

Arizona has a border with Mexico and Mexican origin  population in the State is significant.

The U.S. Justice Ministry has defined the aim of the visit as “being professional”.

The US people who professionalize Turkish Justice Delegation, did not skip saying that they took the Delegation to a lunch at Arizona Chase Field and rodeo as a social activity.

Well then, What is this OPDAT?

In the website of the U.S. Embassy there is an explanation  which says “A legal advisor is placed in U.S. Embassy in Ankara in 2006 affiliated to US. Justice Department Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training”.

In the American Justice Ministry’s internet site it is shortly said that OPDAT works in a close cooperation with Ministry of Foreign Affairs; The U.S. Government supports Turkish Government’s combat against murders committed by PKK and other terrorist organizations; develops legislation of combating terrorism and assists Turkey in criminal cases, financial fraud and public fraud.

Baris Terkoglu from OdaTV had said that OPDAT’s  U.S advisor in Turkey had a meeting on 25-26 January 2007 in Istanbul together with  Deputy Chief Prosecutors from 8 cities’ Courts which deals with terrorist crimes and organized crimes and also four judicial representatives. Mehmet Bozkurt from Aydinlik, had revealed that this U.S. prosecutor was Suzanne Hayden.

National Security Council says “One nation, one state”; there is a state system research in U.S.

This is the picture of 2011 Turkey…

It is a commonplace to deride airplane travel today. It is the rare week that passes in which I am not subjected to some scornful diatribe relating the latest in airline degradations.

“Get over it,” we all want to say. “We know, already. The best days of air travel are behind us. What we have now is bus travel that is airborne.”

And that is why I combat waves of self-loathing as I relate my own airborne story, headed as I am to a criminal-justice conference for Arizona Attorney Magazine.

I write this as I currently wing eastbound across the country at, I’m told by our cockpit-cacooned Ralph Kramden, 31,000 feet.

I climbed aboard a few hours ago, only to find that I was to be housed in an aisle seat in the last row of our Airbus (there’s that bus word again!). Someone else had purchased my tickets, and too late I have learned that I am to be subjected to a non-reclining slab of high-tensile-strength plastic, covered with a cotton ball or two for comfort.

But now I understand that the main problem with this seat — 26C — is not the fact that it is painfully upright for the entire 5-hour trip from Phoenix to New York. No, the real problem is that it is sited in the area I like to call the “toilet waiting area.”

Delightful, I am sure you’ll agree.

But there is no better way to describe the spot where a dozen people have stood in line, like ticketed vagrants, almost from takeoff until landing. The shuffling, stumbling mob changes slightly moment by moment, overly hydrated person by overly hydrated person. But the line never diminishes.

Here is what comes with that pleasure:

People’s midsections: There is no escaping the parade of human body parts that drifts past me at eye level. Wide, narrow and everything in between, passengers display their bits, encumbered most often with poor clothing choices.

Eye contact: Much as most people try to avoid it, eye contact may be inevitable as someone lingers by my seat for minutes at a time. I do not yearn for a connection with any of you people waiting to shit in a closet-sized plastic box. Please, keep your eyes skyward.

Other people’s conversation: If there is one thing mass transit (and I include planes) has going for it, it is relative anonymity. Aside from the occasional cad who ignores your open book or your closed eyes and tries to strike up conversation, most of us understand that silence is best. But that’s not true in the toilet waiting area. There, masses of people who have been stripped of all other forms of self-respect feel a bond with their aisle-mates. That leads them to begin yammering, about where they are coming from (which is the same for everyone on the plane), where they are going to (ditto), and how small airline seats are and how nice it is to stand up (thanks for the original thought).

And they are doing all of that, right now, next to me.

That has led (and may be leading right this moment) to some site-specific invasions of privacy. Here’s what I mean.

People, essentially, were raised in barns. And that is probably why a number of them cannot help trying to read what it is that I am typing AT THIS VERY MOMENT!


Sorry about that. I’m back.

I think what adds to the low quality of travel today is the path that we all must tread to get to our seats, wherever they are. You know what I mean: Every one of us must pass through first-class to struggle back to steerage.

(My apologies if you fly first-class. If your butler is reading this blog post to you, I hope he will omit this section.)

That is a hard path to walk. And I don’t think it occurs in any other realm of life.

For instance, as I drive home from work, and head toward my own humble abode, I can select the most direct route. No law or policy requires me to wend my way through more upscale neighborhoods first. Nothing demands that I observe the upper crust enjoying crustless sandwiches on the front lawns of their palatial estates. They live there, I live here, and we need not intermingle.

Or when I am at work, and the interoffice mail delivers my Friday paycheck, am I first subjected to a viewing of the CEO’s pay stub? Am I forced to absorb the fact that his deductions for, say, life insurance are greater than my entire gross pay for the week? Thankfully for both of us, the answer is No.

Or when I wheel my ancient bicycle up to the take-out window at Church’s fried chicken, I am alone in my grease-addled penury. No one requires me first to pedal past open-air bistros where the elite sip martinis and feed each other coq au vin topped with edible gold bouillion.

And that’s the way it should be.

And yet, on airlines, we make that walk of shame, past first-class, with its hot towels, human-focused seating and other innumerable treats. No matter how happy the occasion that is the focus of your journey, that unfortunate path leads only to sadness — and maybe to a seat near the toilet waiting area.

Making that walk more difficult today was seeing a relative celebrity in first-class. Not typically star-struck, I still was surprised to see a Phoenix Suns former owner ensconced in the comfort of a wide leather seat as I entered with my bags.

The man is a legend and has accomplished much in his life, but he always retains the “common touch,” as they say. He is known to be a friendly and gregarious man, never far from his working-class roots. And in that way, he’s a lot like you and me (butlers, omit that last sentence). But there he was in first-class, and I was headed to the cattle car.

As my slow-moving line inched through the primo section I noted with surprise that the former sports mogul was poking the keys on his own iPad, making productive use of the time before we had to power down electronic devices.

Despite my best efforts, I was unable to see what he was typing.

As I craned my neck and hovered over his screen, he suddenly looked up at me and curled his lip in what I believe was derision.

See how rude plane travel has gotten? It’s a crying shame.

Julie Pace

On this Change of Venue Friday, I share a nice story about a lawyer aiming to do good.

Julie Pace is an accomplished employment, OSHA and litigation lawyer, and she has written for Arizona Attorney Magazine before. But her skills extend far beyond workplace issues.

In yesterday’s Arizona Republic, the lead editorial praised her efforts to create harmony on multiple sides in the immigration debate. An accomplished photographer, Pace created a poster that emphasizes how the best result may come through unity, rather than rancor.

As the editorial opens:

Butterflies do not come to mind when you think of recent debates over immigration. Stinging hornets maybe. Or scorpions.

Not butterflies.

Local attorney Julie A. Pace wants to change that. She created a poster and hand delivered it to members of Congress this week. The artwork carries the words: “Left Wing, Right Wing: Come Together, Solve Immigration.” It shows a butterfly with composite wings. Her message: “Our left and right wings cannot fly on their own, but can achieve a beautiful result when brought together.”

One of Pace's butterfly creations

Her optimistic invitation for left and right to work together is a refreshing demonstration of confidence in the ability of those in Congress to act in the best interests of the entire nation. America needs comprehensive immigration reform to help secure the border, provide future labor needs and create a path to earned legalization for the undocumented.


Julie has established a website for her project. Here is the concept as described there:

“Left Wing, Right Wing, Come Together, Solve Immigration”

Immigration Butterfly Art by Julie A. Pace

“Everyone agrees that our country’s immigration system is broken. Differences of opinion on immigration have been used to divide the country and increase conflict. We need leadership to bring us together and solve immigration. Employment and litigation attorney Julie A. Pace has created an original work of art to unify efforts and to symbolize that bringing the diverse elements of our country together can achieve a beautiful, soaring, sustainable result. The diverse elements cannot live and fly on their own and need to be unified to be successful.”

More information is here.

And congratulations to Julie on her efforts.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted

I have written before about the holy war that flared up last year between Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. (See the stories here and here.)

The trouble brewed over an emergency procedure the hospital staff performed. It terminated a pregnancy, but saved the life of the mother. Instead of the reaction you might expect—sorrow for the loss paired with praise for the medical team—we were witness to the bishop’s recriminations and ultimate statement that a Catholic sister who had participated in the decision to save the mother’s life was essentially excommunicated.

The firestorm that grew up nationwide surprised many. And perhaps most surprising was the support that the hospital received. Now stripped of its “Catholic” status (but keeping its oh-so-Catholic name), the facility continues to serve a community it has served for generations.

Today, New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof examines the debate anew. In “Tussling Over Jesus,” he dissects the jarring intersection of world views that played out in Phoenix. Most interesting, he points out that the clash is nationwide, and growing in frequency:

“Make no mistake: This clash of values is a bellwether of a profound disagreement that is playing out at many Catholic hospitals around the country. These hospitals are part of the backbone of American health care, amounting to 15 percent of hospital beds.”

“Already in Bend, Ore., last year, a bishop ended the church’s official relationship with St. Charles Medical Center for making tubal ligation sterilizations available to women who requested them. And two Catholic hospitals in Texas halted tubal ligations at the insistence of the local bishop in Tyler.”

Nicholas D. Kristof

When I wrote about this in December, I pondered on a simple and pragmatic question: What care would I receive if I were admitted to a Catholic hospital? Given that I had always indicated on my insurance data that St. Joe’s was my hospital of choice, should I reassess? Would they give me not the best care possible, but just the best Catholic care possible?

“You see, when it comes to doctoring around with the human body, I may be like a lot of people: I prefer the scientifical over the pontifical. Health care decisions are supposed to be about a lot of things, but they are not supposed to be about who wears the bigger hat.”

Kristof read my mind. His column today includes these startling sentences:

“The National Women’s Law Center has just issued a report quoting doctors at Catholic-affiliated hospitals as saying that sometimes they are forced by church doctrine to provide substandard care to women with miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies in ways that can leave the women infertile or even endanger their lives. More clashes are likely as the church hierarchy grows more conservative, and as hospitals and laity grow more impatient with bishops who seem increasingly out of touch.”

As the “health care debate” rages around the country, it is striking that we have a health care debate of our own right here in town. This debate goes back centuries, but its resolution may say a lot about modern-day America.

Last week, I mentioned in passing that this spring I would be working on a story about criminal sentencing and sentencing reform. I also alluded to what had spurred me to the topic at this time.

Well, that kick in the pants came in the form of an upcoming conference to be held in New York City this coming week. And I am honored to have been invited.

The invite came to me from John Jay College of Criminal Justice (and its Center on Media, Crime and Justice) and the Guggenheim Foundation. They were offering some fellowships (read “all-expenses paid”) to attend the conference. But they asked applicants to write a story pitch that had some connection to the conference topics.

The conference is titled “Law & Disorder: Facing the Legal and Economic Challenges to American Criminal Justice.” The complete program is here.

Given the depth of the conference topic, developing a story idea that complemented it was not the challenge. The hard part was narrowing to a story pitch that would tie to interests of Arizona Attorney Magazine’s readers. The topic had to be timely and relevant.

Thank you to my great Editorial Board, who offered a slew of story ideas, any one of which would be newsworthy. Ultimately, I submitted a pitch on the topic “Courts at the Crossroads of Sentencing Debates.” It relates to the conversation and controversy over “evidence-based sentencing.”

The reviewers must have liked what they read, because I was invited. I now am officially a Guggenheim Fellow – or a “Guggfella,” as a colleague has already dubbed me.

The City University of New York (where the John Jay College is housed) kindly sent out a press release about the event and the fellowships. As it begins:

New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman will lead a prestigious group of speakers, including three senior judges and three district attorneys from around the country,  for discussions on the evolving role of the courts in the U.S. justice system at the Sixth Annual Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City on Monday, Jan. 31st and Tuesday Feb 1st, 2011.

Judge Lippman will deliver the keynote speech on Jan 31st on the conference theme: “Law & Disorder: Facing the Legal and Economic Challenges to American Criminal Justice”

The Harry F. Guggenheim Symposium is the only national gathering which brings together journalists, legislators, policymakers, scholars and practitioners for candid on-the-record discussions on emerging issues of U.S. criminal justice.  Panel topics this year include: the courts and civil liberties, court overcrowding, gun violence, the impact of the midterm elections on criminal justice, the crisis in family courts, and the use of new technology in crime-fighting and its implication for privacy rights.

Twenty-Six U.S. journalists from print, online and broadcast outlets have been awarded fellowships to attend the conference. The unique fellowships, organized by John Jay’s Center on Media, Crime and Justice (CMCJ), are aimed at encouraging and promoting top-quality journalism on criminal justice.

The Fellows were selected from a wide pool of applicants based on editors’ recommendations and on investigative reporting projects currently underway or in the planning stage related to the topics explored at the 2011 conference.

Here is a link to the complete release, including the names of all the 26 new Fellows.

I’ll report back after the conference. And I’ll try to keep warm.

This afternoon, the State Bar of Arizona launched a new tradition: the staff photo.

In what may be an annual effort, all of us gathered in the relative briskness of a January Arizona afternoon (eat your heart out, Northeast) and smiled—at least, some of us did.

After a few standard shots, the Bar’s Chief Communications Officer, Rick DeBruhl, rolled out a cart with a wealth of shticky shtuff—red clown noses, plastic carnival necklaces, and the classic eyeglasses with nose and moustache.

We each selected one piece of attire, and then the photographer snapped the final goofy picture.

Here’s hoping we each get a wallet-sized photo to treasure for our own.

And here are a few shots of the group getting photographed—and what we wore. When we get the final result, I’ll post that, too.

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Dean Shirley Mays, Phoenix School of Law

Tomorrow afternoon, I will be meeting with a law school leader. And I’d like to know what questions you think I should ask for our Q&A, to be published in the April issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

My interview is with Dean Shirley Mays, of the Phoenix School of Law. We have written about the school and its evolution more than once (here and here and here, to start). We will discuss her own background and the school’s challenges and successes.

If you have questions or comments to suggest, post them here. Or write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org

And, Dean Mays, if you read this, feel free to post some questions too! I’m looking forward to a great conversation.

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