Legal events


We wrestle with the age-old question: Is a hot dog a sandwich? What a time to be alive.

We wrestle with the age-old question: Is a hot dog a sandwich? What a time to be alive.

You know that universal rule about food? “Never go to the grocery store when you’re hungry.”

Turns out, the same is true for blog writing. For when I write on the intersection of food and law, I often find myself yearning for the first—and ignoring the second.

So on Change of Venue Friday, I raise that age-old and tasty question: What is a sandwich?

What is a sandwich? Have I completely lost it?

Not at all. In fact, let’s open this blog-meal by watching this great Atlantic video, which explains the tax consequences (at least in New York State) that flow from whether a food product is deemed a sandwich:

At least one British journalist has been flummoxed by this quintessential American question, as you can see here, where the whole enwrapped story of “sandwich ontology” is explored.

As the writer winds his way toward his hot-dog-IS-a-sandwich conclusion (madness!), he cannot resist an arcane side-dish that examines America as a delicatessen whose daily special is mimicry:

“America is a country founded by people from someplace else on ideas borrowed from someplace else, ultimately to try to distinguish itself from every place else. It is a fraught balance of identity – to take and be of an other, yet define yourself by contrast to that other. This is the strange impulse of our ‘exceptionalism’, to always borrow something and modify it slightly, then declare the end result definitively, uniquely American.”

Tell me he didn’t put quotation marks around exceptionalism! Oh, yes he did. (Plus, he insists on clinging to the quotation-marks-inside-the-comma rule. God save the Queen.)

True sandwich experts concur in this well-seasoned debate. Dagwood sandwich blondie hot dog

True sandwich experts concur in this well-seasoned debate.

Yes, that video and news story are from a year or two ago, so you may wonder what’s the delicious news hook. Well, you may be pleased to know that The Big Question has been answered definitively—though I doubt you’ll like the result:

Yes, a hot dog is a sandwich.

At least according to those noobs at the Merriam–Webster Dictionary. In your busy summer, you may have missed the news that the dictionary folks made the determination. I leave it to the brilliant and entirely partisan correspondents at Eater to tell you the real deal.

Where do I stand on the sandwich question? Probably more aligned with Eater and the Atlantic video. But I’ve been told that intelligent people may disagree (ha!), so you may come to your own conclusions. Just don’t bring up lettuce wraps; there are limits to my definitional patience.

In the meantime, have a great weekend, whether it’s highlighted by a roll, bread, pita, or any other delicious envelopment.

Hot dog: Compact? Absolutely. Delicious? Indisputably. A sandwich? Grrr.

Hot dog: Compact? Absolutely. Delicious? Indisputably. A sandwich? Grrr.

Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods has authored a play to be performed this weekend, July 23 and 24.

Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods has authored a play to be performed this weekend, July 23 and 24.

Yesterday, I had coffee with a friend whose life goal is to locate paid work that allows him to do whatever the heck he wants to do. The fact that he is successful at it, and that he is a lawyer, makes me all the more envious. For he has found ways to minimize the daily-grind parts of the legal profession and to maximize the collaborative, business-building, soul-nourishing parts of his career.

Well, screw him.

Of course, I don’t mean that. I really am very happy for him, and for that small subset of others who manage to make their avocation their vocation, who move their most creative work to center stage.

And the stage is where you’ll find the work of another such creative guy, Grant Woods.

I have previously praised the drive of former Arizona Attorney General Woods to nourish his musical and theatrical impulses. You can read about a few of them, here, here, and here.

This weekend, his playwright chops will be on display. “The Things We Do” is Grant’s play, which will be performed this Saturday and Sunday, July 23 and 24. It will be featured at TheaterWorks in Peoria as part of a New Works Festival. Here is how it’s described:

“A very clever and very real comedy telling the story of Bill, Sarah, Ted and Alice, a group of not-so-young professionals discovering once the kids are grown, you may find yourself searching for very different things in life. Follow their journey as they discover the intricacies of modern love and the myriad ways humans deal with the complexity of our associations.”

Tickets and more information on all the plays are here.

And be sure to read another news story about Grant’s writing life here.

Theaterworks new works festival 2016 Grant Woods-page0001

Downtown Phoenix neighborhood "The Deuce," around Third St and Jefferson, early 1960s.

Downtown Phoenix neighborhood “The Deuce,” around Third St and Jefferson, early 1960s.

What happened to Miranda?

That intriguing question is how attorney Paul Ulrich opens his article on the landmark case that appears in the June Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Most everyone in the United States has at least a rudimentary knowledge of the Miranda warning, if not of the case itself. But 50 years on, how deep and long-lasting are the rights associated with Miranda v. Arizona? For in those five decades, multiple court rulings have chipped away at the bedrock of the case.

Is Miranda still a powerful case? Or merely an important piece of legal history?

Read Paul’s article, and let me know what you think.

One of the pleasures of covering the landmark case was in sharing some photos of downtown Phoenix, from about the same time period as Miranda’s arrest and trial.

As Paul mentions in his article, the once-shady—and vibrant—neighborhood of downtown was called “The Deuce.” Longtime residents are often pleased to share stories of the activities that marked the streets and alleys.

To learn more about that neighborhood, and more, read Jon Talton’s blog, Rogue Columnist. It is worth bookmarking.

And if you want a more concrete memory of the case, head over to the ABA website, where you buy a T-shirt emblazoned with the Miranda warning. You never know when that may come in handy

CLE by the Sea 2016 web banner

First of all, before anyone complains that I’m being braggy about a great trip I’m taking: I have never attended the State Bar’s CLE By the Sea; nor is it in my likely future.

So why am I touting the July 10-13 event today? One reason: boffo marketing

Never having been, I cannot vouch for the event’s content—though the roster of topics and speakers looks great. But what specifically got my attention was a video from the Business Law Track (which I’m told was created by Janet Nearhood of Off Melrose). You can watch it here:

And here is the background on the Business Law Track.

No fear, other presenters! You can see the detail about all the tracks here. And click here to view a printable brochure.

Other videos available cover the Probate Law Track:

… and the Family Law Track:

You’ll spy some different approaches to videos there, but I come not to praise one over another. I merely suggest that most all programs (and content generally) could benefit from a 1-minute video to draw folks in. It gives you a quick insight into what’s on offer and why you should head over to the program.

Do you agree?

Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, site of the State Bar of Arizona CLE By the Sea.

Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, site of the State Bar of Arizona CLE By the Sea.

Arizona_Supreme_Court_SealThanks to a change in Arizona law, there are two new openings on the Arizona Supreme Court. Applications are due August 8, so start reviewing your resume and gathering your recommendations. Here is how the Court describes the positions and the process:

Applications are being accepted for two new positions on the Arizona Supreme Court. The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will review applications, interview selected applicants, and recommend at least three nominees for each position to Governor Doug Ducey.

A copy of the application form can be downloaded at the Judicial Department web site. Applications may be also obtained from the Administrative Office of the Courts, Human Resources Department, 1501 W. Washington, Suite 221, Phoenix, by calling (602) 452-3311, by sending an electronic mail request to jnc@courts.az.gov.

Applicants must be at least 30 years of age, of good moral character, and, for the past 10 years, admitted to the practice of law in and residents of Arizona.

The original completed application, one single-sided copy and 16 double-sided copies must be returned to the Administrative Office of the Courts, Human Resources Department, 1501 W. Washington, Suite 221, Phoenix, AZ, 85007, by 3:00 p.m. on August 8, 2016. The Commission may, at its discretion, use the applications filed for these vacancies to nominate candidates for any additional vaca­ncies known to the Commission before the screening meeting for these vacancies is held.

All meetings of the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments are open to the public.

As of January 1, 2017, the new justices will be paid $157,325 annually.

Arizona Supreme Court building

Two new Arizona Justices will be appointed, following a new law signed by Gov. Doug Ducey. Applications are due August 8, 2016.

State Bar of Arizona logoIn case you were not yet recovered from a terrific Independence Day, I share some remarkable news from my State Bar colleague Alberto Rodriguez about an event that aimed to educate and assist the immigrant community. Thank you to all the Arizona attorneys and others who participated:

The State Bar of Arizona and Univision Arizona hosted a special edition of Abogados a Su Lado (attorneys on your side) public service program on Thursday, June 23, along with a community forum and legal help clinic on Tuesday, June 28. Both access to justice programs were held to help the immigrant community understand the impact of the Supreme Court of the United States’ divided decision regarding President Obama’s immigration executive actions.

State Bar of Arizona Abogados a Su Lado Phone Bank and Community Forum, June 2016

State Bar of Arizona Abogados a Su Lado Phone Bank and Community Forum, June 2016

The Bar’s primary role as a partner and organizer of the events was to help the immigrant community understand its role as a consumer protection organization, as well as to connect them with licensed attorneys for sound legal advice regarding the SCOTUS decision. The immigrant community is often victimized by notarios and document preparers during high-profile activity associated with immigration law.

The following are recaps of both programs.

Phone Bank Details

What: Abogados a Su Lado Phone Bank

Date:  Thursday, June 23, 2016

Time: 5 to 7 p.m.

Topic: Immigration Issues – DAPA/DACA

The volunteers were five attorneys:

  • Marisol Angulo, Hernandez Global
  • Ezequiel Hernandez, Hernandez Global
  • Claudia Lopez, Law Office of Claude P. Lopez
  • Karina Ordoñez, Karina Ordoñez Law Office
  • Jose Peñalosa, Jose Peñalosa Attorney at Law

The volunteer attorneys answered 63 calls regarding the SCOTUS decision and immigration law. This special-edition phone bank was two hours.

Forum and Legal Help Clinic Details

What: Community Forum and Legal Help Clinic

Date: Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Time: 6 to 9 p.m.

Topic: Immigration Issues – DACA/DAPA

The volunteers were 10 attorneys:

  • Marisol Angulo, Hernandez Global
  • Emilia Bañuelos, Bañuelos Law Office
  • Josh De La Ossa, De La Ossa and Ramos Law
  • Seth Draper, Salvatierra Law
  • Ezequiel Hernandez, Hernandez Global
  • Claudia Lopez, Law Office of Claude P. Lopez
  • Jose Peñalosa, Jose Peñalosa Attorney at Law
  • Edwin Ramos, De La Ossa and Ramos Law
  • Fae Sowders, Sowders Law
  • Ray Ybarra Maldonado, Law Office of Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado

An estimated 350 consumers attended the three-hour access to justice event and 120 families received one-on-one consultations by volunteer attorneys.

The forum included an overview of the State Bar’s consumer protection services by Alberto Rodriguez; endorsements for the Bar by the Consulate General of Mexico in Phoenix, Mi Familia Vota, and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; and a presentation covering the SCOTUS decision by attorney Ezequiel Hernandez. The entire access to justice program was offered in Spanish.

All attorney volunteers were extremely satisfied with their participation in these access to justice events. We thank them for committing their time and expertise, which helped the Bar continue connecting consumers with legal professionals.

We thank Univision Arizona for their continued partnership in providing this valuable access to justice program for the Spanish-speaking community, as well as volunteers from Mi Familia Vota who helped with event logistics.

Gavel Gap report cover-page0001This past month, the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy released a report that examines diversity among state court judges. Their analysis from all 50 states and the District of Columbia revealed what the ACS is calling “the gavel gap.”

As described by the ACS:

“For most people, state courts are the ‘law’ for all effective purposes. But we know surprisingly little about state court judges, despite their central and powerful role. Unlike their counterparts on the federal courts, much of the relevant information is non-public, and in many states, not even collected in a systematic way. This lack of information is especially significant because judges’ backgrounds have important implications for the work of courts and the degree to which the public has confidence in their decisions.”

“In order to address this serious shortcoming in our understanding of America’s courts, we have constructed an unprecedented database of state judicial biographies. This dataset—the State Bench Database—includes more than 10,000 current sitting judges on state courts of general jurisdiction in all 50 states. We use it to examine the gender, racial, and ethnic composition of state courts, which we then compare to that of the general population in each state. We find that courts are not representative of the people whom they serve. We call this disparity The Gavel Gap.”

The primary report authors are Tracey E. George, Professor of Law and Political Science at Vanderbilt University, and Albert H. Yoon, Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Toronto.

As they conclude, “We find that state courts do not look like the communities they serve, which has ramifications for the functioning of our judicial system and the rule of law. Our findings are particularly important given the vital role state courts play in our democracy, in our economy, and in our daily lives.”

The complete report is available here and is only 28 pages. Thankfully, it’s also written clearly and accessibly. If you’d like a deeper dive, the ACS also permits anyone to download the underlying data to examine things for yourself.

Take a look. I’d enjoy hearing what you think of the gap in Arizona, or nationwide. And here are a few of the report’s findings.

Gavel Gap infographic 1-page0001

Gavel Gap report infographic 1

Gavel Gap report infographic 3Gavel Gap infographic 2-page0001

Gavel Gap report infographic 2

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