A special note to parents & University of Arizona Students: Parents from the reaches of Orange County, CA, the Bay Area, Chicagoland (including Lake County), & the greater New York Metropolitan area (particularly northern New Jersey) contact us quite a bit. Parents almost uniformly state, and meritoriously so, that they have just spent upwards of $40,000.00 a year to send their son or daughter to University of Arizona, only to find their son or daughter, basically good students, hundreds (or thousands) of miles away, suddenly enmeshed in the criminal justice system here in Pima County.
Unfortunately, it comes as a great and unwelcome surprise, that the law enforcement culture of Southern Arizona is quite different from the places I mentioned above (one parent bemoaned that this wasn’t mentioned in the brochure). And it’s true: Southern Arizona law enforcement practices both on and around have become increasingly, and in some cases unreasonably aggressive. Fortunately, about half the time, for de minimus first offense criminal charges, like a “minor in possession of alcohol” we often counsel that private legal representation is not necessary, that the matter will likely be dismissed through a diversion program. Yet, I’m struck at how grateful parents and students are to receive any counsel, and how aggravating the situation is.
After all, no one wants to go to college only to wind up with a criminal record, even for a misdemeanor. We commiserate completely, and try to talk to every parent and student who calls and provide some basic guidance.