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Category Archives: 100J Obstruction/Hindering Operation Victories

State v. Mr. B (DMC No. 14374) – Felony Aggravated Assault Dangerous (Car v. Police Officer) and Misdemeanor Obstructing Governmental Operations – Reduced to Attempted Aggravated Assault with Probation and 90 Days in Jail – Maricopa County Superior Court (Case No. CR2016-146209).

Mr. B was a 67-year old man who had an anxiety disorder. He had gone to Fry’s in order to pick up a prescription for his medication and some groceries. An hour later when he left the Fry’s store, he got into his vehicle and drove towards the exit, where he saw an Officer parked diagonally blocking the entrance to the street. The officer was there working on a different case/arrest.

As Mr. B approached the Officer, he asked the Officer to move his car and the Officer said no. The Officer claimed that Mr. B was screaming at him. The officer then stated that Mr. B got into his car and slowly drove at him and then accelerated rapidly. The Officer claimed he jumped to the side and pulled out his firearm, at which point Mr. B stopped his car. He then came up to Mr. B and holstered his weapon and asked for Mr. B’s license. Per the Officer, Mr. B then put his car in reverse and attempted to flee again. Mr. B was stopped by other Officers in the parking lot and he refused to get out of the vehicle. He was then forcibly removed and arrested for Felony Aggravated Assault Dangerous on a Police Officer and Misdemeanor of Obstructing Governmental Operations.

Once we became involved, we retrieved all of Mr. B’s medical records in order to present them as mitigation to the Prosecutor. In addition, we interviewed all of the other Officers involved, and the stories were not matching up. We also presented evidence of his military service in Vietnam and his long-term employment with the United States Postal Service. Mr. B had also performed numerous prior good acts of community support, he had strong family contributions and responsibilities, he lacked prior bad acts, he had good character reputation, he was filled with remorse, and he behaved admirably during his pretrial phase.

The Prosecutor ultimately agreed to a plea of Attempted Aggravated Assault with a 90-day jail sentence. At Sentencing, the Prosecutor wanted 3 years of Probation, and the victim/Police Officer wanted 90 days of flat jail time. The Judge ultimately only imposed 2 years of Probation and allowed the 90 days to be served in the infirmary due to Mr. B’s health conditions. Originally, Mr. B was facing 10.5 to 21 years in prison  if he were to be convicted on the Aggravated Assault Dangerous on a Police Officer.

FELONY TAMPERING with PHYSICAL EVIDENCE, FELONY CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT PERJURY, FELONY OBSTRUCTION of a CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION and FELONY FRAUDULENT SCHEMES REDUCED to PROBATION with ZERO DAYS in JAIL – State v. Mr. A (DMC No. 11855) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR2013-000547):

Mr. A was cited with a Misdemeanor DUI in the City of Gilbert. He then retained the services of Mr. K (a high profile defense attorney in the Phoenix area) in order to defend him. He provided Mr. K with a cell phone video purporting to be video taken from the front of his vehicle as a “dash cam” at the time of the stop. On the video, it showed him properly exiting a bar parking lot and driving correctly without any traffic violations. He was also narrating while he was driving, and claimed that an Officer was pulling up behind him and stopping him. He then stopped the cell phone video.

Unbeknownst to Mr. K, Mr. A falsified the video. He then had a co-worker alter the date time stamped on the video. It was of such quality that Mr. K’s forensic expert analyzed the video and wrote a report finding the video was accurate and untampered with. All of that information was then submitted to the Gilbert City Prosecutor and the DUI charge was dismissed against Mr. A.

The co-worker who had altered the video for Mr. A subsequently had a falling out with him. He then contacted Police and reported Mr. A. Mr. A was subsequently charged with Fraudulent Schemes, Tampering with Evidence, Obstructing a Criminal Investigation and Conspiracy to Commit Perjury. We were then retained by Mr. A. Myself and my partner, Christine Whalin met and formulated the strategy to (1) legally attack some of the charges as not  being  factually  sufficient  as  to  the crime  actually  committed,  (2)  gather  all  mitigating evidence regarding Mr. A, (3) agree to full restitution as to the Gilbert Police Department’s estimation  (which  was  in  the thousands  of dollars),  and  (4) meet  with  the Prosecutor and Prosecutor’s Supervisor to try and achieve an offer which would not result in any prison or jail time.

As the case progressed, my partner, Certified Criminal Law Specialist Christine Whalin and myself met at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office with the Prosecutor and her Supervisor. Although we could not secure an offer which would allow for only a Class 6 Open/Misdemeanor, we did secure an offer which resulted in the dismissal of the Class 2 Fraudulent Schemes per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-2310. Mr. A pled to Obstructing a Criminal Investigation per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-2409, (a Class 5 Felony), an amended charge of Tampering with Physical Evidence per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-2809, and Solicitation to Commit Perjury per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-2704 and 13-1002,  (both Class 6 Open Felonies). There was also no agreement as to sentencing. After I conducted the mitigation hearing, the Judge sentenced Mr. A to supervised probation with no jail time. This was a very high profile case that was covered by the press throughout each and every step of the proceedings.

OBSTRUCTING a POLICE OFFICER DISMISSED – State v. Mr. M (DMC No. 6620) (Chandler City Court No. 06-C-2825551): Mr. M had been arguing with his wife, when his wife called 911. She then hung up the phone. 911 called and the wife stated “I’m sorry, I overreacted.” 911 sent the Police out for a “Welfare check” anyway.

When they arrived, Mr. M opened the door and he told the Police he didn’t want to make any statements. The Officer stated “step aside” I’m going into your house. Mr. M said “No you’re not” and shut the door and began walking back into his house. The Officer opened the door, came in and charged Mr. M with obstructing a Police Officer pursuant to Chandler City Code CC11-11. We were able to convince the Prosecutor that this did not qualify as a true “Obstruction” case. The Prosecutor agreed to dismiss all charges if Mr. M agreed to remain law abiding and contributed $500 to the D.A.R.E program in the amount of $500.

JUVENILE FELONY INTERFERING with an EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION REDUCED to MISDEMEANOR THREATS with ZERO DAYS in JAIL – State v. Mr. S. (DMC No. 8456) (Maricopa County Juvenile Court No. JV175079): Mr. S. had gone with his father to Cabela’s Sporting Goods to look at some different types of camping and hunting gear. When he returned to Millennium High School the next day, he discussed his trip to the sporting goods store with some other students. One of the students claimed that Mr. S stated he was going to shoot his teacher on September 11. When Mr. S was at school on September 11, he was arrested by Police. He was charged with a Felony for Interfering with an Educational Institution under Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-2911(A)(1).

We had Mr. S submit to a polygraph in order to determine whether he had actually threatened to shoot his teacher. He stated he had not, and he passed the polygraph. However, several students still claimed that they had heard him make his threats. We ultimately convinced the Prosecutor to drop the case to a simple misdemeanor “Threats” charge with zero days in Jail.

NOT CHARGED | CONSPIRACY to HINDER PROSECUTION NOT CHARGED – State v. Mr. B. (DMC No. 10363) (Chandler Police Department Investigated): Mr. B. was a high ranking public official whose wife and daughter were charged with sexual conduct with a minor. In this high profile case, his wife was sentenced to over a decade in prison, and his daughter received probation with jail time. Investigators attempted to go after Mr. B. to show that he somehow tried to “hinder” their prosecution of his now ex-wife and daughter. We were able to shut down the investigation, exposing it as a political stunt, and no charges were brought against Mr. B.

DISMISSED | HINDERING PROSECUTION/FACILITATION of UNLAWFUL FLIGHT and PUBLIC NUISANCE ALL DISMISSED – State v. Mr. C. (DMC No. 4772) (Pinal County Superior Court Booking No. 49889): Mr. C. had been drinking with a friend on the Indian Reservation, when they got into the friend’s vehicle. The friend ended up backing into a police car and getting into a high speed chase. Both were arrested and Mr. C. was charged with “Hindering Prosecution”, being an “Accomplice/Facilitating Unlawful Flight” and “Public Nuisance”. We were able to speak with the charging Prosecutor, and he agreed to decline charges on Mr. C. because he was merely a passenger. The driver was not so lucky.

Mr. K was having an argument with his wife, when she picked up the phone to call 911. He then grabbed the phone, threw it down and damaged it. Police responded off the initial 911 “trigger”, and saw Mr. K in his garage. When he was instructed to exit the garage, he reached for a duffle bag on the ground and Officers immediately grabbed him and escorted him outside with a “control hold”. When they searched the duffel bag they found a weapon.

Mr. K was allegedly struggling when they placed him under arrest and when he was cuffed. He repeatedly stated that he had done nothing wrong and didn’t know why the Police were there. The Police then charged him with Obstruction of a Governmental Operation under Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-2402 (A)(1), Failure to Obey a Police Officer under Mesa City Code 42-179; Prevention of the Use of a Telephone During an Emergency under Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-2915 (A)(3); False Reporting to Law Enforcement Officers under Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-2907.01 (A); Carrying a Concealed Weapon per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-3102 (A)(1) and Criminal Damage under Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1602(A)(1). We were able to show the Prosecutor that the Statute does not qualify regarding Obstruction of a Governmental Operation while placing a defendant under arrest. Also, the False Reporting and Failure to Obey were fairly outrageous charges given the situation. As far as the Carrying a Concealed Weapon and Prevention of the Use of a Telephone, they agreed to dismiss both of those charges. Mr. K only pled to the Misdemeanor Criminal Damage due to the destruction of the telephone, and was given a minimal Jail sentence of 4 days in Jail. Originally, he could have been facing up to 2 and a half years in the County Jail.

Ms. S, who was 21 years old, was with 2 of her friends when they became bored and went into an alleyway to throw oranges at cars. Once the Police were called, they arrived on scene and observed this activity. An Officer got out of his Patrol car and stated “Police, Stop”, and Ms. S and her 2 friends began to run away. When they were eventually caught, Ms. S was charged with Obstructing a Public Roadway per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-2906(A), and Obstructing a Police Officer under Chandler City Code CC11-11. We were able to convince the Prosecutor that this was a harmless prank, and that no vehicles were actually struck with the oranges. They agreed to dismiss both criminal charges in exchange to plea to a civil ticket of Failure to Remove Hazardous materials from a roadway under Arizona Revised Statute ARS 28-898(B).

Mr. R was undergoing Xanax withdrawals when he walked into an Old Chicago restaurant in Mesa, Arizona. Somebody called the Police claiming that Mr. R was acting erratically and when they arrived at the restaurant they saw Mr. R fleeing on foot. He was eventually chased down, thrown to the ground and taken into custody. While he was being arrested, he began to struggle and Officers charged him with Obstructing Governmental Operations under Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-2402(A)(2) and Disorderly Conduct under Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-2904.

We were able to provide Prosecutor with evidence that Mr. R was detoxing from Xanax which could cause paranoia. We also presented evidence that he was talking erratically on the night that he was arrested. We then showed them that it’s inappropriate to charge someone with Obstructing a Government Operation under the Statute. The Prosecutor agreed to dismiss all charges against Mr. R. if he would remain law abiding for a short period of time and take some classes to deal with his Xanax addiction issues.

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