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Category Archives: 64 Homicide Reduced

Mr. L had been suffering from stress-related depression and other mental illness issues. He was in a volatile relationship with his girlfriend and they had often argued. After one of their nights of arguing, he called the next morning and told her that she better come over to his house or he was going to choke her. He then called back again and told her he was going to cut himself and start bleeding if she didn’t come over. Finally, he called back and said he was going to come and find her and choke her.

His girlfriend decided to leave home and drive to work, and while on the way she recognized Mr. L’s vehicle pull up behind her. Eventually his vehicle got in front of her and he swerved at her trying to strike her. He did hit her car and both vehicles ended up falling down a ravine on the side of the road. He then left his vehicle and began choking his girlfriend for approximately 30 seconds until other witnesses ran up and stopped the incident. He was ultimately charged with Attempted 1st Degree Murder and Vehicular Aggravated Assault Dangerous.

After we became involved with the case, we gathered up all the medical records regarding Mr. L’s mental illness. We also had a neuro-psychological evaluation conducted to show that he had ongoing issues which could be successfully treated. After all interviews were completed, a Deviation letter was prepared and sent to Prosecution. Speaking with the Prosecutor, we got him to agree to drop the case down to a Class 6 Undesignated Felony for Endangerment and a Class 6 Undesignated Felony for Aggravated Assault. At sentencing, the Judge only gave two years of probation and did not order any jail time. Initially, Mr. L was facing decades in prison.

(2 COUNTS) FELONY VEHICULAR SECOND DEGREE MURDER and (1 COUNT) FELONY HIT & RUN REDUCED to 19 YEARS in PRISON – State v. Mr. N (DMC No. 6998) (Maricopa County Superior Court No. CR2005-011605): In this high profile vehicular homicide case, Mr. N had blown through a red light and rear ended another vehicle containing 2 passengers. One of the passengers was pregnant at the time. Their car then struck a bus stop and bursts into flames. Both passengers inside burned to death. Mr. N then got out of his car and fled the scene. When he was apprehended, he was found to have cocaine in his system along with alcohol. He also had prior felony convictions. He was ultimately charged with 2 Counts of Second Degree Murder and 1 Count of Felony Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Accident.

The family hired us to attempt to challenge the evidence and secure the lowest possible prison offer for Mr. N. His initial plea offer was to stipulate to 25 years in custody. We then negotiated an offer to a range of 16-32 years in prison, with the  exact prison sentence to be left up to the Judge. After putting together an extensive Mitigation Package that include interviewing all if Mr. N’s family members, along with a history of his upbringing and drug dependency, we convinced the Judge to give a sentence of 19 years. The Prosecutor wanted 25-32 years. Our involvement helped shave 6 years of prison off of the original plea offer.

CONVICTION REVERSED PCR (Rule 32) (7 YEAR PRISON SENTENCE) and NEW PLEA OFFER GIVEN with LESS PRISON TIME/ FELONY MANSLAUGHTER (with GUN) and (3 COUNTS) FELONY ENDANGERMENT (DANGEROUS) – State v. Mr. M (DMC No. 11460) (Yuma County Superior Court No. S1400CR2009-00194): Mr. M had been reckless with a firearm while in the presence of a woman and her three children. The gun discharged and killed the woman. Mr. M was subsequently charged with Manslaughter (Dangerous) and 3 Counts of Endangerment (Dangerous). His first Attorney had the case for 2 years and conducted no interviews. In addition, that Attorney advised Mr. M not to take an offer to Negligent Homicide with a range or 4-8 years in prison. Mr. M subsequently terminated that Attorney and hired another Attorney. That Attorney had the case for 7 months and conducted no interviews. An offer was secured by that Attorney to probation with 1 year in jail, or prison with 5-12.5 years of incarceration. That Attorney told Mr. M that he could most likely get the probationary term with only a year in jail. He was ultimately sentenced to 7 years in prison.

We were hired by Mr. M’s family to file a Post Conviction Relief Petition pursuant to Rule 32 of the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure. We had evidence in our Petition that both previous Attorney’s were “ineffective” because they had not interviewed any witnesses. In addition, when Mr. M was sentenced, 8 other mitigating factors were not presented to the Judge. Just prior to an Evidentiary Hearing in front of the sentencing Judge, the Prosecutor offered a new plea agreement which allowed Mr. M to be sentenced to 5.5 years in prison, with credit for the time he had already served. Our involvement in the case saved him 1 and a half years of prison time.

NOT CHARGED/REDUCED | MANSLAUGHTER NOT CHARGED/REDUCED to Misdemeanor DUI – State v. Mr. T. (DMC No. 7216) (East Mesa Justice Court No. TR2006-172224): Mr. T. was traveling westbound on University Drive in Mesa when an individual attempted to cross University diagonal to the flow of traffic. He was unfortunately struck and killed. Mr. T. was interviewed by police and he admitted to using marijuana in the prior 24 hrs. We were able to convince the State that no individual would have been able to stop in time to avoid the collision. In addition, we were able to show that the marijuana would not have affected his ability to drive. Although we convinced the State to not file Manslaughter charges, they did file charges for DUI with a metabolite of marijuana in System. The case was ultimately resolved as a Misdemeanor DUI Drugs with 1 day in jail – even though it started out with Mr. T. facing a potential 21 years in prison.

NOT CHARGED/REDUCED | VEHICULAR 2ND DEGREE MURDER NOT CHARGED/MANSLAUGHTER and AGGRAVATED ASSAULT (dangerous) REDUCED to NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE (non dangerous) with 1 YEAR in PRISON (7 months of actual time) – State v. Mr. F. (DMC No. 11880) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR2011-007282): Mr. F. was travelling on the southbound 101 in Scottsdale when another vehicle engaged an SUV in “road rage” in front of him. The original vehicle slammed on its brakes, causing Mr. F. to swerve to the right, striking the SUV. The SUV flipped and the driver subsequently died at the scene. The original vehicle took off and was designated a “phantom vehicle” by Mr. F. and several witnesses. During the course of the investigation, Mr. F. was discovered to have marijuana and a pipe on his possession. He admitted to smoking marijuana hours earlier. Blood was drawn which was revealed the presence both “active” and “inactive” marijuana metabolites. We submitted various documentation to the County Attorney’s Office and Attorney General’s Office before the case went to Grand Jury. They were originally seeking 2nd Degree Murder charges, but the Grand Jury only returned charges based on Manslaughter. During the course of vigorously defending the case, we had the County Attorney’s Office removed for “conflict”, and the Attorney General’s Office took over the case. We eventually negotiated a reduced plea to Negligent Homicide (Non Dangerous), with a stipulated 1 year in DOC. The actual amount time that Mr. F. will spend in prison is only 7 months. He was originally facing a potential 10 to 22 years on the 2nd Degree Murder and 7 to 21 years on the Manslaughter.

4 COUNTS of AGGRAVATED ASSAULT DANGEROUS DISMISSED and 1 COUNT of SECOND DEGREE MURDER REDUCED to MANSLAUGHTER with 10.5 YEARS in PRISON – State v. Mr. B. (DMC No. 4121) (Maricopa County Superior Court 2012-017982): Mr. B. and his friends had issues with another group of people regarding a laptop computer. The other group of people came over to Mr. B.’s house were pounding on the door and broke a window. As they were driving away, Mr. B. fired a gun at the car and struck and killed a female passenger (who was a mother of a small child). The other four people in the car were alleged victims of aggravated assault dangerous. Mr. B. was facing a potential of 82 years in prison, and we were able to convince the Prosecutor to drop the 4 counts of aggravated assault dangerous and reduce the second degree murder to manslaughter. He was sentenced to the presumptive term of 10.5 years in prison, in which Mr. B. was released after 9 years (for good behavior).

REDUCED | 2 COUNTS of SECOND DEGREE MURDER and 1 COUNT of AGGRAVATED ASSAULT DANGEROUS REDUCED to AGGRAVATED ASSAULT NON DANGEROUS with 4.5 YEARS of PRISON – State v. Mr. M. (DMC No. 7863) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR2006-009509): Mr. M. and two other friends were challenging another car to a drag race on the I-17. Mr. M. was in the passenger seat, and when both cars got side to side, Mr. M. hung out of the window with a baseball bat and struck the other car. After he got back into the car as both vehicles were travelling 100 mph, they collided. The other vehicle went off the roadway and two of the three passengers were killed. Mr. M. was subsequently charged with 2 counts of second degree murder and 1 count of aggravated assault dangerous. We were able to convince the Prosecutor, by using an accident reconstruction expert, that Mr. M. was not the causal factor in the crash. In exchange for dismissing both counts of second degree murder and reducing the aggravated assault dangerous to a non dangerous, we secured an open range offer in which Mr. M. was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison. He was originally facing a potential of 59 years in prison.

REDUCED | MISDEMEANOR VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER (A.R.S. 28-672) REDUCED to probation with zero days in jail – State v. Mr. R. (DMC No. 10402) (Surprise Municipal Court TR11-00425): Mr. R. made a left hand turn in front of a vehicle that contained two passengers.  A 93 year old woman died due as a result of that collision.  Mr. R. was cited under ARS 28-672 “causing death due to a moving violation”, and faced up to 6 months in jail.  Although witnesses claimed it was Mr. R.’s fault, we were able to show the prosecutor that it may have been the other driver’s fault.  Ultimately, they offered a plea with restitution and 160 hours of community service with no jail time.

FIRST DEGREE MURDER (2 Counts) REDUCED to Second Degree Murder – State v. Mr. B. (DMC No. 7131) (Maricopa County Superior Court No. CR2005-141941): Mr. B. and 2 others went to the home of a methamphetamine dealer and his girlfriend under the rouse of borrowing some items. Once they were there, they robbed the 2 victims at gunpoint and shot them. Although Mr. B. was initially facing the Death Penalty, we were able to convince the State to not seek death with our first degree murder defense. We were also able to raise some defenses in the case which resulted in securing a plea to 2 Counts of Second Degree Murder with a sentence of 13 years on each count. Although Mr. B. admitted to being the shooter and firing 12 rounds of ammunition, there were still some significant questions as to the reliability of his confession. Even without death being on the table, most people convicted in Arizona of a double homicide are given a minimum of a natural life sentence, whereas Mr. B. will be free at age 44.

(Gila County Superior Court No. 97-675CR): Mr. A. and numerous co-defendants were charged with meeting the victim at a casino and then going back to his residence where they shot to death with a shotgun and robbed him. We were able to present numerous issues showing that Mr. A. did not know this crime was going to turn into a homicide. Additionally, the State’s physical evidence fell apart when they were attempting to match a footprint on a door to Mr. A. We eventually negotiated a plea agreement to Burglary with 3.5 years in prison. The shooter received 25 years to life.

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