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Phoenix Criminal Law Blog

Arizona man on trial for death during armed robbery

A criminal defendant in Arizona is slated to stand trial on allegations that he killed a teenager who was attempting to protect his sister from a violent crime. The young victim, age 16, reportedly was shot during an attempted armed robbery in a Phoenix-area park, according to authorities. The defendant has entered a not-guilty plea for allegations of first-degree murder, aggravated assault and armed robbery; he has chosen to go to trial in connection with those violent-crimes claims.

Official reports show that the incident occurred in mid-September 2012, when the 20-year-old defendant reportedly approached a 14-year-old girl in Marivue Park, demanding money. The girl's brother stepped between his sister and the alleged robber, at which point he suffered fatal injury. News reports have not indicated the method allegedly used to harm the young man.

Maricopa County will not prosecute 3 men accused of rape

Charges of rape and other sexual assault crimes can be difficult for prosecutors to prove. When the alleged rape occurs in a social situation, particularly where alcohol is involved, things can get more complicated.

Maricopa County prosecutors have announced that they have decided not to charge three men accused of raping a woman in May. The men, who were students at Scottsdale Community College, were accused of assaulting the woman while she was drunk.

How to handle a DUI stop

Many of our readers may have seen DUI checkpoints as they were traveling throughout Arizona this past Fourth of July weekend. Another increasingly used strategy for catching drunk drivers is what are called saturation patrols. This is where deputies station themselves on much-traveled roads to watch for impaired drivers.

These patrols tend to be more effective than checkpoints where roadblocks are set up and law enforcement officers stop each vehicle and speak with the driver. A spokesperson for one Arizona sheriff’s office says that checkpoints, where drivers are also given pamphlets, are “an education to the public.”

Man pleads down to single charge for Internet crimes

An Arizona man has chosen to pursue a plea deal with prosecutors in District Court after he was accused of wire fraud by federal authorities. The former prominent real estate developer, who had launched projects in Somerton and San Luis, will enter into a plea agreement in connection with one of the two Internet crimes cases that he was facing. The man has pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud for those allegations; he could spend as long as 20 years in prison for the violation. A claim by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is still pending.

Authorities say the defendant committed wire fraud when he electronically transferred funds totaling about a half-million dollars in May 2008. He was facing allegations that he lied to investors after selling them some $50 million in promissory notes. Those investors, some of which were senior citizens, were promised liens on property that the man was developing. Those liens would ostensibly allow the investors to foreclose and retrieve their money if he could not pay back the promissory note amount.

Federal sex crimes charges coming for defendants in FBI sweep

A prostitution sting in Arizona in June led to the arrest of 27 alleged pimps and 40 reported clients, many of whom are facing both state and federal charges. In all, the law enforcement sweep, which focused on casinos, truck stops and other spots well-known for prostitution activity, recovered 57 reported victims of sex trafficking. Five children were among those reportedly victimized..

This statewide haul was a part of a broader endeavor by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The program, known as Operation Cross Country, works to remove minor children from prostitution efforts. Those accused of exploiting the children are slated to be held criminally responsible. Nationally, more than 3,500 children have bee recovered through the effort. The most recent haul yielded a total of more than 160 kids nationwide, with more than 280 defendants arrested.

Arizona residents among those facing federal drug charges

Two Arizona residents are among seven defendants facing federal charges connected with the transporting of large amounts of methamphetamine to Wyoming from Arizona. They are charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute the illegal drug.

The alleged ringleader of the group was arrested last year. However, the indictment has just been unsealed by a federal judge in Wyoming. According to law enforcement officers in that state, they confiscated almost 40 pounds of cocaine and meth. They say it was the largest seizure of drugs ever in Wyoming. They were reported to be worth as much as $2 million on the street. Law enforcement sources say he was keeping the drugs in Mason jars in his home, secured in a gun safe.

Arizona mother and son among 4 arrested on drug charges

A traffic stop in Greenlee County, Arizona, led to drug charges against four people. Sheriff's deputies arrested a 41-year-old woman and her 18-year-old son, as well as the mother's fiance and her son's girlfriend. Deputies allegedly found illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia in their homes.

The traffic stop of the 22-year-old girlfriend occurred on May 9. When the deputy asked to search her vehicle, the young woman reportedly said that they would find no drug-related materials since she only used drugs at her boyfriend's apartment. That led to a search of the apartment, which the young man allowed. Officers say they found drug paraphernalia in the trash, including syringes and aluminum foil used for heroin.

Woman accused of DUI after causing high-speed fatal crash

An Arizona woman who is accused of crashing into a vehicle while traveling at 90 mph has a history of intoxicated driving, according to recent news reports. The woman, age 35, is facing aggravated DUI charges, along with allegations of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment in connection with the June 9 crash. That fatal collision left two vehicle occupants dead at an intersection in Mesa.

Authorities say that the two victims, a 33-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman, died after the defendant allegedly slammed into their vehicle while they were stopped at a red light. Investigators say she was traveling at about 90 mph, but the woman told firefighters at the scene that she was driving at 120 mph before the collision. This is not the woman's first run-in with the law for intoxicated driving; it appears that she has a history of DUI and other similar convictions. News reports have not provided details about that criminal past.

Defendant arrested after violent crime leaves priest dead

Police officers in Arizona have made an arrest in the murder of a Catholic priest in Phoenix. Officers say they arrested a 54-year-old man after he was reportedly heard bragging about beating the priest and robbing him. Several people have stepped forward to provide investigators with information about the homicide, all of which seems to point in the direction of the defendant.

The defendant is accused of attacking two priests at the rectory where they live. The June 11 incident left one 28-year-old priest dead and the other injured. The surviving victim said he struggled with the attacker after he was initially struck by a person holding an angle iron. He said he was attacked inside the rectory kitchen. He says he struggled with the attacker over a gun he kept in his room.

7 men charged with being lookouts for drug smugglers in Arizona

People alleged to be involved in trafficking or selling illegal drugs, even if they are not in possession of the drugs, can face serious criminal charges. Here in Arizona, local law enforcement agencies as well as the U.S. Border Patrol take drug smuggling very seriously. Authorities in Pinal County say that activity by drug cartels is particularly heavy in their area as drugs make their way from the two counties that border Mexico.

After a months-long investigation by Pinal County deputies and U.S. Border Patrol agents, seven men were arrested for conspiracy to possess marijuana for sale. The men were allegedly lookouts for Mexican drug cartels. Their job, according to authorities was to watch for law enforcement officers and then alert drug smugglers making their way across the desert to the locations of law enforcement authorities patrolling the area.

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