Judge


Yavapai County Courthouse (court website)

Yavapai County Courthouse (court website)

News from the Superior Court in Yavapai County:

Please join the Arizona Superior Court in Yavapai County for an open-house celebration of the 100th anniversary of the laying of the Yavapai County Courthouse cornerstone. This event will take place on Saturday, October 15, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Prescott Courthouse, 120 S. Cortez in Prescott.

Yavapai County Courthouse cornerstone

Yavapai County Courthouse cornerstone

We are extremely excited about the addition of an exhibit area on the first floor near the Law Library that will showcase historical items that were used in the courthouse through the last century. Along with exhibits, we will have historical photos displayed throughout the courthouse (images courtesy of the Sharlot Hall Museum) depicting the jewel of Yavapai County.

sharlot-hall-museum-logo

We will have docents onsite to share their knowledge and help guide you through the courthouse. We also will have folks dressed in period costumes to enhance your experience while celebrating this milestone.

A new report from an Arizona Supreme Court task force explores the costs of pretrial penalties, fees, and cash-bail policies. jail Tent City Maricopa County

A new report from an Arizona Supreme Court task force explores the costs of pretrial penalties, fees, and cash-bail policies.

“Who pays?” could be the underlying theme for a new report out of the Arizona Supreme Court task force Fair Justice for All. One of the vital topics it examines is the inequities that may exist in a system of cash bail for those awaiting trial.

An Arizona Republic story describes the task force report. One of the report’s recommendations would be to move toward a risk-assessment approach in terms of bail. Already in use in some other states, the assessment would determine an individual’s danger to the community and his likelihood to return for hearings and trial. Critics say the current system more accurately assesses the depth of a defendant’s bank account than the more relevant questions.

Arizona_Supreme_Court_SealThe task force ultimately made 65 recommendations. The full report is here, and more detail about the report and its process is here. As you’ll see, the report examines the effects of court fines, fees, and penalties, as well as pretrial release policies.

I’m currently in conversation with a potential author who would write an article for Arizona Attorney explaining what this all means. More to come.

Of course, I previously wrote about another groundbreaking report titled “Who Pays?” It was created by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. At that time, I spoke with the Center’s Zach Norris about the “true cost to families of incarceration.”

You should read that report here, as it well examines the additional penalties that follow a previously incarcerated person after release and return to the community. That is the other side of a coin being written by the Arizona Supreme Court, about the cost of pretrial penalties.

A graph offers data on how many unconvicted individuals are held in the Maricopa County jail system awaiting trial.

A graph offers data on how many unconvicted individuals are held in the Maricopa County jail system awaiting trial.

Ernesto Miranda

Ernesto Miranda, and the case named for him, remain a subject of scrutiny.

A luncheon seminar this Thursday, May 26, offers to tell “The Inside Story of Miranda v. Arizona.” Of course, the only way to discover how much you know (and don’t know) about the landmark case is to attend the event hosted by Los Abogados.

Presenters:

  • Hon. Barry G. Silverman, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
  • Hon. Bridget S. Bade, Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona
  • Capt. Carroll Cooley (ret.), Phoenix Police Department (Ernesto Miranda’s arresting officer)

los abogados-web-logoWhen:

Thursday, May 26, 2016, 11:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.

Where:

Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. District Courthouse, Jury Assembly Room, 401 W. Washington Street Phoenix, AZ 85003

Cost:

  • $20 Members
  • $25 Non-Members $10 Students

Register and pay in advance online here. And see the flyer below for more detail.

Los_Abogados_CLE_luncheon_flyer_Inside_Story_of_Miranda.02-page0001

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

A new Phoenix Compliance Assistance Program aims to assist residents whose civil fines have led to the loss of a driver's license or worse.

A new Phoenix Compliance Assistance Program aims to assist residents whose civil fines have led to the loss of a driver’s license or worse.

This week, the City of Phoenix and its Municipal Court announced a new program that aims to counter situations that have too often have led people into financial straits and even into the justice system.

The new “Compliance Assistance Program” is “designed to give residents with past-due traffic fines a path to repay the debts and work towards restoring driving privileges.”

The past year has provided numerous examples from around the country in which residents faced financial ruin and increased interaction with police because of an accumulation of unpaid tickets, fines, and penalties. But these issues didn’t just face residents of Ferguson, Missouri, or other newsworthy places; they face residents of Arizona cities too. The Phoenix program is a salutary effort to address those problems; you can read more about it here.

As Megan Cassidy reports:

“The Compliance Assistance Program is designed to break what can become a crippling cycle of fines and subsequent driving penalties: Unpaid fines can lead to a suspended license. And driving on a suspended license can lead to criminal charges and jail time for the working poor. As of Dec. 31, Phoenix was owed more than $283 million in overdue municipal fines, fees and restitution dating back decades. As many as 6,000 people currently have their licenses suspended because of delinquent Phoenix fines.”

Phoenix City Councilwoman Kate Gallego

Phoenix City Councilwoman Kate Gallego

Quoted in the story and a key driver of the change is Phoenix City Councilwoman Kate Gallego.

“We want people to be able to pay their fines in a sustainable way,” she said. “If you push people to the brink of their financial ability, the consequences are more negative.”

New Chief Presiding Municipal Judge B. Don Taylor came into the job via a contentious process, but his advocacy for these changes is a welcome sign for a progressive court, one that has substantial daily interactions with residents. Though the program is just a first step, residents should be heartened by the actions of Judge Taylor and Councilwoman Gallego, who “said she made reforming the Municipal Court system a priority in her decision-making when the City Council selected a new presiding municipal judge last year.”

As Judge Taylor says in the Arizona Republic story, “It’s really providing a mechanism that people haven’t really had before. I think creating something that will allow them to be compliant, get the license back, really helps them be in a good place.”

If the name Don Taylor sounds familiar, it may be because he’s a longtime lawyer, former prosecutor, and even a story-subject in Arizona Attorney Magazine. In 2007, we spoke with him as he worked at the International Criminal Tribunal at The Hague.

Congratulations on the new program.

Attorney B. Don Taylor in the February 2007 Arizona Attorney, describing his work at The Hague.

Attorney B. Don Taylor in the February 2007 Arizona Attorney, describing his work at The Hague.

Earlier this month, women lawyers and law students filed an amicus brief that told the story of their own abortions and the value that reproductive rights played in their careers.

Earlier this month, women lawyers and law students filed an amicus brief that told the story of their own abortions and the value that reproductive rights played in their careers.

The legal battle over reproductive rights continues to be much in the news. And the heat got turned up this week when Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit over an antiabortion ‘sting’ video-maker. As the Washington Post reports:

“Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the maker of a series of undercover videos released last year that sought to prove that the women’s health organization illegally profits by selling tissue from aborted fetuses.”

You can read about the allegations here.

But that reminded me, in an in-case-you-missed-it spirit, that a remarkable brief was filed at the U.S. Supreme Court in early January. As reported in the National Law Journal:

“More than 100 female lawyers joined in a brief to tell the U.S. Supreme Court about their own abortion experiences and why their reproductive freedom was pivotal to their personal and professional lives.”

“The extraordinary brief, filed last week, was signed by former judges, law professors, law firm partners, public interest lawyers and law clerks, though none who clerked for the high court itself.”

A Texas case may be "the most important Supreme Court battle over abortion in a generation."

A Texas case may be “the most important Supreme Court battle over abortion in a generation.”

The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, comes out of Texas, which enacted restrictions on abortion clinics “that could result in shuttering many facilities. [Abortion advocates] claim the regulations pose an ‘undue burden’ on women’s rights.”

Read the whole story (and the brief) here.

Wherever you stand on the question of abortion, this advocacy and the attempt to persuade the Justices are noteworthy. As the story says, attorney Janice Mac Avoy is an attorney who volunteered to tell her own story and to be a lead party on the brief. She pointed out that the drafting in the brief “responds to ‘storytelling briefs,’ often filed on the other side, that relate the stories of women who have regretted their abortions.”

Legal history is filled with examples of parties adopting the strategies of opponents. Time will tell whether this amicus brief, and the many others filed, are ultimately persuasive. “Set for argument on March 2, the case is viewed as the most important abortion rights case in nearly a decade.”

Have a terrific—and persuasive—weekend.

Opponents and supporters of Planned Parenthood demonstrate Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Philadelphia. Anti-abortion activists are calling for an end to government funding for the nonprofit reproductive services organization. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Opponents and supporters of Planned Parenthood demonstrate Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Philadelphia. Anti-abortion activists are calling for an end to government funding for the nonprofit reproductive services organization. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

This month, attorney Clint Bolick was selected as a new Arizona Supreme Court Justice by Gov. Doug Ducey.

This month, attorney Clint Bolick was selected as a new Arizona Supreme Court Justice by Gov. Doug Ducey.

It cannot be easy to select a new state supreme court justice. So much is involved in the job that a panel must weigh a broad array of talents and experiences. And at the end of the day, the old adage applies: You can’t please everybody.

Clint Bolick is a longtime litigator for the Goldwater Institute and an occasional columnist for Arizona Attorney Magazine. (Read a few of his pieces where he discussed courts, judges, and legal services here, here, and here. And he discusses a book on immigration reform he coauthored with Jeb Bush here.) And now he can add Arizona Supreme Court Justice to his roster of accomplishments (though I’m sure columnist will always be his favorite achievement!)

You can read news stories about his appointment by Gov. Doug Ducey here, here, and here.

Arizona_Supreme_Court_SealThose also up for the job had ample experience as appellate judges, which the new Justice lacked. That, plus his previous advocacy litigation, meant that his selection was not met with unanimous positive reviews. (for a negative take, here is E.J. Montini’s column in the Arizona Republic.)

Whatever your view of his appointment, I was pleased to watch Clint Bolick’s interview as he sat before the appointments panel (and I urge you to watch it here). Sitting in the hot seat, Clint did extremely well. He did not appear there as a man who lacks the skill and experience for the job. Nor did he overcompensate by appearing prideful about his litigation record. Instead, he was—and is—soft-spoken and self-effacing. And that has been my experience of him as a colleague and writer.

If there is an entry for “disarming interview” in the dictionary, he would occupy the spot.

Of course, none of that means you will necessarily be pleased (or disappointed) in his subsequent opinions. His judicial record will now roll out over a course of years. Until then, I congratulate Justice Bolick and wish him the best.

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