State v. Mr. C (DMC 15410) – Animal Abuse – Reduced to 5 Days in Jail – Phoenix City Court (Case No. 5306674): Mr. C was seen by people pulling his SUV over on the side of the road, retrieving a cat from the passenger side door, and throwing it over a fence. The cat the scrambled off and hid underneath a car and was almost struck by Mr. C as he left the scene. The witnesses then took the cat to the Humane Society and had it nursed back to health at a cost of almost $900. Mr. C was ultimately tracked down and charged with Animal Cruelty. We were able to present evidence that the cat dug his claws into Mr. C’s arms while he was attempting to remove it from the car, and that it then ran away after he flailed his arms due to the pain. He had not abandoned the cat, nor had he tried to harm the cat. Because of the strength of the witness’s testimony, the State was seeking a significant amount of jail time. Although he was facing up to six months in jail, we were able to reduce the ultimately sentence to only five days.
State v. Mr. H (DMC 15877) – Felony Tampering with Evidence – Dismissed (with Classes) – Maricopa County Superior Court (Case No. CR2018-138288): Mr. H had been arrested for misdemeanor DUI and had been taken to the police station. After the police had drawn two vials of his blood and packaged them both in a single box, they informed Mr. H that he could get an Independent Test of his blood if he wished to challenge the State’s results. He was also told that the second vial would be available for him to get tested. Mr. H became confused, and thought that the box with both vials of blood contained his own sample to take with him. He put the box in his pocket and left with it when he was released from the police station.
Ultimately, the police contacted him and informed him that he had taken their samples of blood. They claim that he had denied that he had taken the blood samples, and then they produced videotape evidence showing that he had. He was ultimately arrested and charged with felony Tampering with Evidence. We were then hired by Mr. H to represent him on the felony, and not on the underlying misdemeanor DUI (in which he already had an attorney). Ultimately, we were able to have the Prosecutor agree that this was a mistake and that they could lose at trial. They then allowed the case to be Dismissed upon successful completion of classes for alcohol consumption by Mr. H.
State v. Ms. E (DMC 15445) – Felony Arson and Felony Criminal Damage – Dismissed – Maricopa County Superior Court (Case No. CR2018-151423): Ms. E had suffered from PTSD and was on various medications. She had taken two of those medications together and went to sleep, when she awoke was panicked because she thought her dog was locked inside of the car. She smashed the car in order to get into it, and realized her dog was not there. She then called her husband, who informed her that he had the dog.
During this ordeal, she had somehow set the car on fire. We were able to show the prosecutor that she was having a medical episode, and that her husband (the co-owner of the car) did not wish for charges to be pressed. Ultimately, the State agreed to Dismiss charges against Ms. E. Originally, she was facing a large amount of prison time.
State v. Mr. F. (DMC 15474) – Felony Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – Teaching License Reinstated at Board Hearing – Arizona Department of Education (Case No. C-2017-697R): Mr. F had been charged two years prior with Felony Possession of Marijuana and Felony Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. We were able to negotiate a resolution that involved classes, which, upon successful completion, would result in a Dismissal of all charges. As Mr. F was a school teacher, he was informed that pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute 15-534.02, that he would lose his license for a period of five years. We requested a hearing in front of the Arizona State Board of Education, which was ultimately granted.
During the hearing, we provided numerous witnesses that showed Mr. F was doing a good job as a substitute teacher. We also showed that he was not an immoral person, and the reason that he had used marijuana was due to back pain. His lack of a medical marijuana card was merely an oversite. He had since obtained a medical marijuana card, which allowed him to legally use the drug. We also showed that Mr. F worked with special education children, some who had Downs Syndrome who were non-verbal. Because of his knowledge of sign language, and his specialized training, he was a very valuable teacher. Ultimately, the Committee agreed to Reinstate Mr. F’s Teaching License.
Federal Felony Arson Not Charged – State v. Mr. W (DMC No. 12949) (U.S. Forest Service Investigated): On May 27, 2012 the Bagley wildfire had started and burned a large area of the U.S. forest land. An investigation was begun and it was claimed that a lighter was found near a campfire site where Mr. W had been. The forest service had claimed that area was accessed from Saguaro Lake by way of a boat. There was a grill that was used, and food was cooked. It was claimed that the fire had accidently gotten out of control and burned one and a half acres. It caused the evacuation of 40 campers in the area.
We were able to contact the investigator for the U.S. Forest Service and present evidence that showed he was only in the area of the fire, along with the other 40 campers, and that there was no evidence that Mr. W was involved in the fire itself. Ultimately, the Assistant United States Attorney declined the charge of felony arson due to a lack of criminal intent.
FELONY BURGLARY NOT CHARGED – State v. Mr. G (DMC No. 13852) (Mesa Police Department DR No. 2013-12800119): Mr. G was a 21-year-old male who was accused of committing Burglary of a Retail Establishment in Mesa, Arizona per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1507 . The alleged Burglary occurred around midnight. There were two eyewitnesses who were working in the area who heard a loud crash and saw a small red pickup truck backed up to the retail establishment. They saw an individual coming out loading product into the small red pickup truck and then driving away. He also saw another individual assisting with the crime. The estimated value of the product stolen was approximately $3500. While the scene was being processed, the two eyewitnesses returned to the scene and advised Officers that they had located what they believed to be the same small red pickup a short distance away in a parking lot. The police immediately went to the location and conducted a search of the small red pickup. In the small red pickup they found the stolen items from the retail establishment.
Police officers then located eyewitnesses in the area who indicated that shortly after the time of the Burglary, they saw a white male with a red pickup truck. The white male asked for assistance pushing the pickup truck into the parking lot as it had run out of gas. They assisted the white male and indicated they could identify him again. Police investigated the vehicle and found that the vehicle was associated with a recent former employee of the retail establishment.
Police immediately went to the residence of the former employee (Mr. G). They questioned the former employee who indicated that he was the only one who had keys to the vehicle and he and that he had not loaned vehicle to anyone else. Under repeated questioning that story changed multiple times. The former employee was taken into custody and a one on one identification was conducted, the witness was not able to positively identify the former employee.
Another complicating factor was that according to the staff of the retail establishment, the Theft of the items included the use of a key to unlock the items inside the establishment. According to the staff, only employees of the establishment would know where to locate the keys. Investigators also located a large rock that had been used to break a plate glass window to get into the establishment. Numerous latent fingerprints were collected including one print from the rock. Mr. G was released but was requested to come in for additional questioning by Detectives.
At that point in time Mr. G retained our services. We immediately instructed the client on how to invoke his Right to Counsel and Right to Remain Silent. We immediately made contact with the investigating Detective and advised our client would not be making a further statement at this time. We then obtained a copy of the police report as soon as it was available. We also immediately sent written notification to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office that our client wished to be present and testify to the grand jury should they request that, pursuant to Trebus v. Davis.
Once we obtained the initial draft of the police report, we reviewed it and identified specific issues for the police. We then wrote a letter to the investigating Detective pointing out specific issues and weaknesses with their case in a letter drafted pursuant to Trebus, Bashir, and their progeny.
We continued to maintain contact with the investigating Detective over the next several months. As part of the ongoing investigation the Detective obtained a court order for our client’s fingerprints. We accompanied the client to provide a full set of fingerprints to the officer. The subsequent analysis of the fingerprints was very beneficial as the prints did not match Mr. G. The last 2 entries of the narrative in the police report from the investigating Detective specifically reference our contact with the Detective and includes the statement that the Detective was “inactivating the case.”
FELONY CRIMINAL DAMAGE NOT CHARGED – State v. Mr. F (DMC No. 13692) (Buckeye Police Department DR No. 15-0505077): At the time of this case, Mr. F was a 36-year old male married to a wife with 2 children. At home one evening, Mr. F unfortunately was confronted with the fact that his wife was having an affair. Mr. F became very distraught and began breaking items around the house including a television, a mirror and numerous other items. At one point Mr. F handed the phone to his wife and instructed her to call her co-adulterer’s spouse saying that he would then advise that man’s wife of what was going on. Instead, Mr. F’s wife called 911. After calling 911 she hung up. She apparently then called again and hung up. Finally the 911 dispatch called and spoke with her briefly. As a result of that, Buckeye Police were dispatched to the residence.
When Buckeye Police arrived at the scene they met with Mr. F’s wife who was very emotional and was crying. They also noticed a house in and which there was substantial damage. There was broken glass all of the floor and there were numerous items that were broken including a table, a clock, a large mirror, some dishes, other furniture and a large television. Mrs. F tearfully advised the police that her husband caught her cheating and became very emotional and lost control. Mrs. F indicated she was very afraid for herself and her 2 small children. By the time the police arrived Mr. F had removed himself from the house, driving away in a car. While the police were at the scene photographing the damage and talking with Mrs. F, Mr. F returned to the scene. The police then interviewed Mr. F in which he allegedly admitted to breaking the numerous items. Mr. F was arrested and taken to jail to be booked for Criminal Damage, a Domestic Violence offense, per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1602.
One of the complicating factors was that Mrs. F indicated to the police that total value of the damage was approximately $5000. This allegation carried the possibility of Felony charges for Mr. F.
After being released from custody, Mr. F retained our firm to assist him on this case. Our Pre-Charge team reviewed the case and developed immediate strategy to head off Felony charges. We were able to obtain immediate documentation of the allegations in the form of the Probable Cause Statement. Information in that Probable Cause Statement allowed us to advise Mr. F of the allegations against him, including the allegations that could result in Felony charges. We worked with Mr. F and obtained information to provide to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to show that the value of the items damaged was in fact not $5000, but less than $1000. The $1000 range is crucial as anything below $1000 can only result in Misdemeanor charges. We then put together a letter pursuant to the Trebus/Bashir line of cases in which we provided the County Attorney’s Office with specific exculpatory information, including the value of the items damaged. Within approximately one week of our letter to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Charging Bureau, the case was “turned down.”
ASSAULT, CRIMINAL DAMAGE and DISORDERLY CONDUCT DISMISSED at BENCH TRIAL – State v. Mr. T (DMC No. 12027) (Scottsdale City Court 2013-030918): Mr. T was a professional athlete who had played running back for the Arizona Cardinals. Police were called to his house by his then live-in girlfriend regarding a “domestic violence.” They had been arguing about personal matters and had “broken up” earlier that day. Mr. T had departed and then returned to the house with a plane ticket for his girlfriend to fly to New York (as a parting gift).
At that time, she walked into the bathroom and began smashing items on the ground. These items include of various perfumes and some picture frames. Mr. T held her in order to keep her from damaging any more property. She subsequently received a minor injury and then called Police.
When Police arrived, they observed various broken items and ultimately charged Mr. T with Assault, per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1203, Criminal Damage per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1602, and Disorderly Conduct per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-2904. Pursuant to policy, he was arrested and taken to Jail at that time. His young daughter was also in the household and was taken away by CPS. I received a call from Mr. T’s sports agent immediately after Mr. T had been released on his own recognizance. I then met with Mr. T at his house, toured the alleged crime scene and went over the facts of the case. After we interviewed both Officers involved and the CPS Specialist who met with the child at the Family Advocacy Center, we then began to attempt to have the charges dismissed by the Scottsdale City Prosecutors Office. The case was eventually set to Trial, and on the day of Trial, the State dismissed all charges.
Mr. T had lived in a neighborhood in which there had been numerous arson fires regarding cars and dumpsters over the previous 3 years. There was a report of a car on fire by a neighbor who stated that they had seen Mr. T run from the area of the car into his apartment. When police arrived, they attempted to have Mr. T leave his house to talk to them, but he refused. They eventually broke down the door and took him into custody. He was charged with arson and resisting arrest.
We were able to show that Mr. T had merely been in the area looking at the car because it had been on fire, and that he had not actually set the fire. In addition, Mr. T had been drinking and was scared when the police came to his door. Lastly, Mr. T and his life partner were both concerned that the police would rough him up due to his sexual orientation. And, in fact, the police had roughed Mr. T up when they took him into custody. We ultimately had the arson charge dismissed, and the case was plead to the resisting arrest with probation and zero days in jail. Originally Mr. T was facing a minimum of 4 years and a maximum of 8 years in prison on the arson charge alone.
SEXUAL ABUSE, ASSAULT and TRESPASSING NOT CHARGED– State v. Mr. L (DMC No. 8342) (Chandler Police Department DR 08-07-1156): Mr. L was a 67 year old maintenance man for 179 room apartment complex. He was asked by a supervisor to check the fire extinguishers in each of the rooms. He had knocked on one of the apartments, received no answer and then entered the apartment to check the fire extinguisher. A 79 year old female resident became startled and he informed her of what he was doing. She became more upset, and he placed his hand on her shoulder and told her it was okay and he left. She then made a complaint that Mr. L had fondled her buttocks while he was in the apartment. When we became involved, we were able to show the Detectives that the 79 year old woman had a history of Dementia. We also showed corroboration that he was instructed to go into these apartments to check all fire extinguishers. No charges were brought against Mr. L.