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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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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Is Cyber Stalking Against the Law in Arizona?

Electronic communication plays some role in almost all modern accusations of stalking or harassment. In Arizona, a person could be convicted of harassment or stalking solely based on electronic communications. Unlike verbal harassment, victims of cyber harassment often keep the electronic records of communication that definitively identify the perpetrator and preserve his or her every word.

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Charged With Drug Possession Just For Riding In the Car?

It is possible to be charged with a possession crime if you are riding in a vehicle where any type of contraband is found. When contraband, such as a firearm or drugs, is not actually found on a person’s body or in a person’s hand, the elements of “constructive possession” must be met in order for the person to be convicted of a possession crime.

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Most Migrants don’t Elude Inspection: 9th Circuit

Since the beginning of Operation Streamline in 2005, thousands of migrants have been criminally convicted under 8 U.S.C. 1325 and 1326, for unlawfully entering the United States. Other than a few cases appealed on procedural grounds, the vast majority of these cases are dispensed of within a matter of minutes, hence the name “Streamline.” But, a defendant recently appealed his conviction all the way to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, successfully arguing that he did not “elude” inspection when he crossed without inspection in a remote area of the border.

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Facial Recognition and Suspect Identification

There are conflicting studies as to whether a confident eyewitness is actually a more accurate eyewitness, so some jurisdictions now instruct jurors not to give more weight to an eyewitness identification just because the eyewitness seems confident.

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Can Cell Phone Location Data Be Used as Evidence Against Me?

This blog will discuss the implications of Carpenter v. U.S., a case the Supreme Court heard last year, holding that police generally need a search warrant to request this historical Cellular Location Site Information (CLSI) from cell service providers.

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What is a “Crime of Violence?”

Under federal law, anyone who uses a gun while committing a “crime of violence” faces an especially stiff prison term. But what is a “crime of violence?” According the U.S. Supreme Court, the answer is “we can’t tell and it’s not our job to say,” so the law is unconstitutional.

Read: What is a “Crime of Violence?”