Are Courts in Arizona Closed Due to Coronavirus?

We hope you are all well. We’ve had a lot of questions lately about court appearances in Tucson on criminal matters in light of the National and State Emergencies. For the most part, other initial appearances after custodial arrest, and certain in-custody matters and orders of protection, most criminal matters in Tucson are temporarily continued, at least for the next few weeks, as we explain below. A couple things to keep in mind:

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Does Arizona Law Enforcement Use the New Clearview AI Facial Recognition App?

It is unknown whether any Arizona law enforcement agencies are using the new facial recognition technology sold by a company called Clearview AI, but since over 2200 entities are using this technology, it is highly likely it is being used here in Arizona.

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Arizona Courts Signaling Greater Scrutiny of College Sexual Assault Discipline Cases?

The Arizona state courts may have signaled a new willingness to intervene in campus sexual misconduct cases this past week in a case called Doe v. Arizona Board of Regents. Campus sex cases are fraught with controversy. On the one hand, Universities should provide a safe school environment and equal access to education. On the other hand, many worry that due process has been swept aside in a rush to condemn individual students and assure the public that something is being done.

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If I am not a U.S. Citizen and I am Charged with a Crime, Do I Also Need an Immigration Attorney?

If you are not a U.S. citizen and you are charged with a crime, you might eventually need an immigration attorney. But, your criminal defense attorney is legally obligated to advise you of the “clear consequences” of any plea deal.

Read: If I am not a U.S. Citizen and I am Charged with a Crime, Do I Also Need an Immigration Attorney?

Consenting to Blood Draws

Consenting to Blood Draws: When the police tell you the consequences of refusal, they don’t automatically make your consent “involuntary,” says the Arizona Supreme Court. In virtually every DUI case, the police request that the driver voluntarily submit to a post-arrest breath or blood test. These requests occur in coercive circumstances, e.g., the driver may be handcuffed and in the back of a police vehicle. But Arizona law also incentivizes blood draws by penalizing drivers who refuse testing with a one-year license suspension and requiring the police to explain these consequences in real time before requesting consent.

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Arizona sentencing reforms: Long overdue but finally on the way?

Arizona has one of the highest incarceration rates in the United States and remains out of step with sentencing reform trends across the country despite some baby steps this summer.

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Federal Employees and the “Following Orders” Defense

Federal employees are not shielded from criminal prosecution just because they were “following orders.” In recent news, several diplomats testifying before Congress reported that they were ordered by the President or his representatives to engage in activities that the diplomats believed were in violation of federal regulations and potentially illegal.

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Breath Test Reliability Challenged

The New York Times recently published an article challenging the reliability of breath tests used in DUI prosecutions nationwide. While the reporter appeared to conclude that breath tests could be reliable, the article also found that they often could not be counted upon in practice. Problems occurred in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington and numerous other states, and affected breath test equipment manufactured by almost every leading company. In some states, fundamental flaws in breath testing have led to the dismissal of thousands of convictions.

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University Student Discipline: Fair or Unfair?

The Courts continue to grapple with the difficult question of fairness in university and college student discipline cases, especially when students are accused of serious misconduct (such as nonconsensual sexual conduct) and face expulsion or long-term suspension. On the one hand, all students and other members of an academic community are entitled to a safe campus environment. On the other, accusations of serious misconduct can badly damage a student’s reputation and result in the loss of educational and career opportunities. In short, the stakes are inevitably high.

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When Does Offensive Conduct Cross the Line to Disorderly Conduct?

Almost any kind of intentionally loud and disruptive behavior could be construed as criminal disorderly conduct, and a disorderly conduct charge can happen to anyone who gets a bit rowdy, especially when alcohol is involved.

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