Articles Posted in Supreme Court

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In a recent United States Supreme Court opinion, the Court reversed the lower court’s ruling that denied a defendant’s motion to suppress the historical location data obtained by the police from the defendant’s cellular phone provider. The opinion is very important to those charged with an Arizona crime where the prosecution is planning on introducing evidence that was seized as a result of a questionable police search or seizure.

The Facts of the Case

The police were investigating a series of robberies. They arrested one man they believed to be involved and asked him who else was involved. The man provided the police with the defendant’s name and phone number.

Under the Stored Communications Act, the police were able to obtain the historical location data from the defendant’s cell phone. In order to obtain this information, the police needed only to show that there was a “reasonable probability” that the evidence was “relevant and material to an ongoing investigation.” This is a significantly easier burden for police to meet than the normal “probable cause” that police are generally required to have before conducting a search.

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Arizona Domestic Violence Laws, Penalties, Criminal Defense

The Lautenberg Amendment in Title 18 U.S. Code § 922(g)(9) prohibits shipment, transport, ownership and use of guns or ammunition by individuals who were convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense or are under a protection order (commonly referred to as a restraining order) for domestic violence. The amendment was enacted in 1996 and has been the subject of numerous court challenges.

On June 27, 2016, the United States Supreme Court further clarified that even convictions for reckless domestic assault can be construed as domestic violence offenses that prohibit firearm possession. The 6-2 decision resolved lingering questions about the nature of misdemeanor domestic violence convictions than can lead to loss of firearm rights.

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On November 20, 2015, the Supreme Court of Arizona decided Dobson v. McClennen (P.3d, 2015 WL 7353847, Arizona Supreme Court 2015). The decision has important implications for individuals that use medical marijuana and might have THC or its metabolite in their system but drive at a time when they are not impaired. Jokingly called the “Driving While a Habitual User of Marijuana,” these prosecutions are no joke.

Although the responsible use of cannabis for medical purposes has largely been decriminalized in Arizona, prior to this decision the DUI laws effectively made it a crime to drive as a medical marijuana patient (even after the impairing effects faded and disappeared). In other words, using medical marijuana should not automatically be a DUI when there was no actual impairment at the time of driving.

The decision in Dobson v. McClennen didn’t make either side happy. The defense wanted a ruling that Medical Marijuana Patients were immune from the “per se” version of DUI under § 28–1381(A)(3). On the other hand, the prosecution wanted a ruling that a positive blood test meant an automatic “per se” DUI conviction under § 28–1381(A)(3). The Court rejected both positions and came up with a middle ground that leaves many of the complicated issues surrounding driving after consuming medical marijuana unresolved.

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“State of Arizona v. Hon. Jane A. Butler and Tyler B” Decision: The Impact of the AZ Supreme Court’s Ruling on Arizona Drivers.

In an unprecedented ruling, the Arizona Supreme Court rejected the Prosecution’s holding that all motorists who drive in Arizona, give their absolute voluntary consent to DUI breath or chemical testing, solely due to the existence of the “Implied Consent” traffic law A.R.S. 28-1321; and that the voluntary consent by a juvenile is not absolute.

This case involved a 16-year-old student who was accused of driving to school under the influence of Marijuana. The student was detained when after school security reported a strong odor of Marijuana in the vehicle, and drug paraphernalia in plain view inside the vehicle. The Court records revealed that the student agreed to have A DUI blood test, only after being handcuffed by police, informed of the existence of the Implied Consent Law, and then instructed that he was required to submit to the DUI chemical test.

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On April 17, 2013, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Missouri v. McNeely, siding with the lower courts’ decisions in a 5-4 ruling to suppress DUI evidence from being used against the defendant.

The case involved a DUI stop, following a moving traffic violation. After questioning, the driver was arrested for suspicion of DUI, after he refused to submit to a DUI breath and blood test.

Following the arrest he was transported to a nearby hospital where a DUI blood test was taken by a lab technician, at the direction of the police officer. The blood test was conducted without the driver’s consent, and in absence of a warrant. The police officer made no attempt to obtain a warrant to collect the blood for the DUI investigation.

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The question before the US Supreme Court is “When is a DNA search lawful?”

US Supreme Court Justice Alito called it “Perhaps the most important criminal procedure case that this Court has heard in decades.”

The state argued that DNA testing at the time of arrest would help solve cold cases and serious violent crimes. In response, one Justice Scalia pointed out that the fact that a DNA test may be useful does not make it constitutional.

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10 facts about enforcement of Arizona’s Immigration Law SB 1070 

On September 18, 2012 District Judge Susan Bolton release a temporary restraining order on the controversial provisions in Arizona SB 1070. Since it became effective in 2010, it faced legal opposition which led to a US Supreme Court decision. At the center of the debate has been the center of the debate was the “Show me your paper’s” provision SB 1070 A.R.S. 11-1051 (B).  The United States Supreme Court held that that enforcement of this provision by the State of Arizona was constitutional.

Last week, the Phoenix Police Chief Daniel V. Garcia’s weighed in on some common questions people have about how police will be forcing SB 1070 “Show me your papers” provision. Here are 10 things that a person can expect in a police stop: