Courts


Ernesto Miranda

Ernesto Miranda

Next week, we have two opportunities to her smart folks talk about a landmark Supreme Court case that arose in Arizona. The case, of course, is Miranda v. Arizona, whose 50 anniversary is this year:

“In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Ernesto Miranda on kidnapping and rape charges because he was not informed of his rights during his arrest, making his written and signed confession null and void. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Miranda was retried by the state of Arizona and his confession was not used as evidence. Miranda was convicted and sentenced to 20-30 years in prison.”

The first event, on Monday, May 2, includes speakers and historic artifacts, and is hosted by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.

  • The Arizona Capitol Museum is celebrating Law Day 2016 with “Miranda: More than Words,” May 2, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Historic Supreme Courtroom, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix. Admission is free.
  • The lineup of speakers includes the arresting officer in the case, and organizers have partnered with the Phoenix Police Museum for an exhibit on the case.
  • A day-long speaker series in the State Library of Arizona Marguerite B. Cooley Reading Room, one floor above the Historic Supreme Courtroom will include speakers Arizona Court of Appeals Judge Maurice Portley; attorney Bob McWhirter; and retired Capt. Carroll Cooley, Phoenix Police Department arresting officer in the Miranda case.
  • For more information, go here or contact the State Library of Arizona at 602-926-3870.

Miranda Arizona Law-Day-2016_Flyer_opt

The second event, on Wednesday, May 4, features a panel discussion, hosted by the Maricopa County Bar Association:

 

A proclamation by Ariz. Gov. Doug Ducey declares that March 2016 is Women's History Month.

A proclamation by Ariz. Gov. Doug Ducey declares that March 2016 is Women’s History Month.

Sharing some news from the Governor’s Office you may have missed, a proclamation of March as Women’s History Month. The proclamation posted above bears careful study, as it praises the achievements of attorneys and jurists Sandra Day O’Connor and Lorna Lockwood. Here is the Governor’s announcement:

In honor of National Women’s History Month, Governor Doug Ducey has signed a proclamation honoring the brilliant and courageous women who shaped Arizona’s history. His office also released a video that celebrates just some of the many Arizona women who have torn down barriers throughout the decades.

“In Arizona, women aren’t just a part our history,” said Governor Ducey. “They’ve led it. These women have been Supreme Court Justices, Governors, Congresswomen and more. This month, we commemorate the achievements of Arizona women as we look forward to the next generation of female leaders in our state.”

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (ret.) and Gov. Doug Ducey, September 2015.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.) and Gov. Doug Ducey, September 2015.

This Saturday, an annual Prison Education Conference will be held at ASU in Tempe.

This Saturday, an annual Prison Education Conference will be held at ASU in Tempe.

This coming Saturday is the fifth annual conference focused on the power of education—including arts education—to better the lives of people who are incarcerated.

Judge Lilia Alvarez, a keynote speaker at the 2016 Prison Education Conference

Judge Lilia Alvarez, a keynote speaker at the 2016 Prison Education Conference

The Prison Education Conference occurs on Saturday, March 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be staged at the Tempe campus of Arizona State University, in the Memorial Union Turquoise Room (MU 220).

More detail about the event, which is open to the public, is here.

You can register for the free event here.

As announced by organizers:

Keynote speakers Judge Lilia Alvarez and attorney Kirstin Eidenbach will discuss how best to deter juveniles from entering the system.

Judge Alvarez is the presiding judge for the Guadalupe Municipal Court and also leads a “teen court” in Guadalupe. Kirstin Eidenbach is an admired attorney who focuses on prisoners’ rights issues.

Attorney Kirstin Eidenbach, a keynote speaker at the 2016 Prison Education Conference

Attorney Kirstin Eidenbach, a keynote speaker at the 2016 Prison Education Conference

Michelle Ribeiro, recently retired from the New Mexico Corrections Department, will speak on the creation of the Pen Project—a class that allows maximum security and other incarcerated writers to receive feedback from ASU interns. Sheldon Thompson, a Pen Project participant who, on his release, was accepted on scholarship to the Institute of American Indian Arts, will speak of his educational experiences (both in and out of prison) and also share some of his creative work.

Click here to watch a video of Michelle Ribeiro’s remarks at last year’s conference.

Michelle Ribeiro speaks at ASU in 2015.

Michelle Ribeiro speaks at ASU in 2015.

And you can read a class description of the Pen Project class here.

For a terrific roundup of last year’s conference, go here.

The conference is hosted by the Prison Education Awareness Club (PEAC) and the Department of English.

Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations PCFR logo sealAn event that takes a global view occurs this Thursday evening, and Arizona lawyers (and others!) are invited.

“Sinking or Swimming Together? United States and Europe in the 21st Century” is the title of the event that includes a distinguished judge from Arizona—and from the Hague.

The host is the Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations, and they have announced what they call a landmark event: An Evening with International Criminal Court Judge Ambassador Marc Perrin de Brichambaut and former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor.

Former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor

Former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor

“This special dinner meeting will bring together these two legal powerhouses to discuss U.S., European, and international law issues.”

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 25, 6:00-8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Gainey Ranch Golf Club, 7600 E Gainey Club Drive, Scottsdale, Ariz.

SCHEDULE: Cocktails 6:00 p.m., dinner 6:45 p.m., program 7:30 p.m.

More information about the evening and ticket information are here.

And here are a few of the topics the speakers may address:

  • Cooperation between the U.S. and Europe has achieved outstanding results in the last half century and will continue to be critical in the next 50 years.
  • The rule of law makes globalization work and supports human rights everywhere, and U.S.–European cooperation is essential to its continued progress.
  • The critical role U.S., European, and international law play in supporting or straining the U.S. –European relationship.
International Criminal Court Judge Ambassador Marc Perrin de Brichambaut

International Criminal Court Judge Ambassador Marc Perrin de Brichambaut

Prosecutorial discretion is the topic at an upcoming ASU Morrison Institute event (image: screen shot from the opening sequence of the "order" portion of Law & Order)

Prosecutorial discretion is the topic at an upcoming ASU Morrison Institute event (image: screen shot from the opening sequence of the “order” portion of Law & Order)

So when it rains, it pours.

Later this week, while I attend a conference examining criminal justice, a panel discussion exploring prosecutorial discretion will be held here in Arizona.

Sheesh.

Well, just because I cannot attend the ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy event, doesn’t mean you can’t. It will be held this Thursday, Feb. 25, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Here is a description by the organizers:

ASU Morrison Institute logoOver the last 30 years there has been a power shift in Arizona’s criminal justice system, with many sentencing outcomes no longer determined by judges and parole boards but now by prosecutors. Mandatory minimum sentencing, truth-in-sentencing, and three-strikes maximum punishments have greatly increased prison populations in Arizona and elsewhere, taking greater shares of state budgets.

Part of an ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy series on criminal sentencing reform, The Full Impact of Prosecutorial Discretion will focus on the pros and cons of this shift through this compelling dialogue.

Panelists:

  • Honorable Pamela Gates, Superior Court Judge
  • Honorable Ronald Reinstein, Retired Superior Court Judge
  • Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney
  • Erik Luna, ASU Law Professor

Also: Arizona Sen. Martin Quezada and Arizona Sen. Adam Driggs will engage in discussion about their perspectives on Arizona’s incarceration rates, the role of “discretion,” and whether there is political will in the Legislature for criminal sentencing reform by changing the judicial code or other action.

The event will be held at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Room 128 (ASU’s Downtown Phoenix Campus, 555 N. Central Ave.)

Details and free registration are here.

Civil discovery rule changes described by @swlaw attorney

“No (More) Fishing” may be one way to describe changes to federal discovery rules.

­­As you likely know, important changes were recently made to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, including changes in the discovery realm, captured in Rule 26.

In late January, Snell & Wilmer partner Mitch Klein wrote about the amendments, particularly in regard to environmental and natural resource litigation.

He is some of what he said in his well-written blog post:

“Previously, parties were entitled to conduct discovery regarding anything that might be ‘reasonably calculated’ to lead to relevant and admissible evidence. In practice, this led to some parties deposing witnesses and subpoenaing documents with only a tenuous relationship to the real issues of the case. This kind of behavior caused significant costs and delays in litigation.”

Snell & Wilmer partner Mitch Klein

Snell & Wilmer partner Mitch Klein

“In environmental and national resource litigation, abusive discovery conduct typically results from parties without any real evidence looking for some (fishing expeditions), deep-pocketed parties trying to overwhelm their adversaries under a pile of documents and/or multiple and lengthy depositions, or parties who have no real idea what they were doing and are trying to figure it out along the way.”

“The new rule now requires an analysis of ‘proportionality.’ Rather than seeking everything but the kitchen sink, a party conducting discovery has an obligation to show why the discovery is reasonable under the facts and circumstances of the case.”

You should read the whole thing here.

Of course, I’ve been around long enough to know there’s more than one way to look at rule changes. And when I see phrases like “abusive discovery,” “fishing expeditions,” and “everything but the kitchen sink,” I would guess at least a few lawyers would want to characterize things differently.

So today I wonder:

  1. Should we cover this topic in Arizona Attorney Magazine? and
  2. How would you describe the discovery rule changes? As Mitch did, or otherwise?

Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Pile of documents stack up high waiting to be managed

Needles and haystacks are often a metaphor for civil discovery.

Arizona lawyer—and our arts competition music winner—Stu De Haan made a devilish argument about free speech and freedom of religion.

Arizona lawyer—and our arts competition music winner—Stu De Haan made a devilish argument about free speech and freedom of religion.

If politics and religion are two topics we should never discuss in polite company, the Phoenix City Council seems like the ideal place to address both.

This week has seen a firestorm of hellish indignation over the news that a group of satanists petitioned the Phoenix city clerk’s office to offer the “invocation” at an upcoming City Council meeting. After reviewing the request and the fact that municipalities cannot be in the business of “picking winners and losers” when it comes to deities, it OKed the request.

As Phoenix City Attorney Brad Holm said in a statement, “Consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s direction, the city cannot dictate religious viewpoints or the content of a prayer.”

Imagine that—following the law.

Cue the choirs, celestial and otherwise.

Read a news story about the devilish quandary here.

To the surprise of almost no one, there is not unanimous agreement with the decision—though the February 17 meeting will likely be standing-room only due to the controversy.

One Phoenix councilman said it’s “a dumb idea,” and another insisted the Satanists should have been denied and simply let them sue. Knowing there’s often fire where there’s smoke, media are all over this. Here’s a video news story:

I confess I’m surprised by the uproar. I’ve been in that chamber many times, and I’m pretty sure I’ve spotted Lucifer at numerous zoning hearings. And who hasn’t smelled the distinct odor of sulfur as countless variance requests are rubber-stamped? Or maybe I need to get my eyes and nose checked.

Wherever you stand, this is a fantastic lesson in the First Amendment, playing out right in the heart of our state. You’re welcome, America.

Stu De Haan and his instrument in Arizona Attorney Magazine, May 2015.

Stu De Haan and his instrument in Arizona Attorney Magazine, May 2015.

And yes, there is an even more intimate legal angle to this. Spokesman and legal adviser to the Satanic Temple (and a “Satanic Templar”) is Arizona lawyer Stu De Haan. And here at Arizona Attorney Magazine, we are a big fan of him—and his music.

Those with good memories will recall that Stu was the winner in the Music category in our 2015 Creative Arts Competition. He appeared on our cover and inside pages, and we featured “Don’t Get Stuck in a Roadside Ditch” online. That song is by his band Scar Eater, “a five piece post-hardcore band from Tucson.”

As Stu described his song, “This song is about facing fears, shedding one’s negative past, and embracing an aggressive but positive outlook on the inevitable difficulties of life.”

You can read more what I wrote about Stu, and listen to “Roadside Ditch,” here.

Arizona Attorney Magazine May 2015 cover arts competition winnersA final thought: It bears noting that Stu and his fellow Satanic Templar Michelle Shortt are traveling north from Tucson to deliver an invocation—and make a point, I suppose—because the Tucson City Council gets to the work of its meetings without bothering with a prayer of any kind. No muss, no fuss.

Imagine that—focusing on governing.

As we head into our Friday, please enjoy “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones. “Pleased to meet you; hope you guess my name.”

Have a terrific—and free-speech-filled—weekend.

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