A good example of the quality work that
I do would be the case of State v. Mena.
Jamie Mena was convicted of stabbing a
man outside a bar and sentenced to prison. I did not represent Mr. Mena at
trial and took the case on appeal.
The victim had no recollection of
the events in question and was taken, by the prosecution, to a hypnotist to see
if his memory could be retrieved. Present at the hypnotic session were the
prosecution, the police and the hypnotist, an employee of the government. No
one for the defense was present and there was no recorded nor transcribed
record of what took place at the session.
This seemed terribly unjust to me.
Doing legal research I found that there were no cases in the United States
dealing with this issue. Next I did scientific research and found that we are
tremendously susceptible to suggestion while hypnotized and that not just the
form of a question but the tone of voice in which it is asked can influence the
answer that is given.
In my appellate brief to the Arizona
Court of Appeals I argued, on my clientís behalf, that he had been denied his
right to confront and cross examine the witness against him in violation of
the freedoms guaranteed him by the Sixth Amendment to the United States
Constitution and by the Constitution of the State of Arizona. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial Courtís ruling.
I took the case to the Arizona Supreme
Court, which reversed the Court of Appeals and trial Court, holding that the
victimís identification of Mr. Mena had been tainted by an illegal pre-trial
Mr. Mena was released from prison.
The State did not appeal the Arizona
Supreme Courtís decision to the United States Federal District Court.
One of the outstanding moments of my
career was when Jamie Mena telephoned to tell me that he was free, thanking me
for what I had done to help him.
If you are interested you can read the
Arizona Supreme Courtís decision. The legal citation is 128 Ariz. 226, 624 P.2d
After the decision was made public, I
received telephone calls from defense attorneys around the country who wanted
to know what I had done so that they could use my information to help their
clients. I was interviewed telephonically by Time and Newsweek. Most
importantly, Courts around the country followed the Arizona Supreme Courtís
lead, handing down decisions in line with State v Mena, extending
the Sixth Amendment protection he was given across the United States.
I am proud of what I was able to
accomplish for Mr. Mena and promise you that I will apply the same dedication
and resourcefulness for you should you choose me as your attorney.
State vs Diablo
The prosecutor was the head of the Gang Crime Unit with the Attorney Generalís Office. The word was that she had never lost a trial.
Interviewing the witnesses it became clear that the officers from the arresting agency had a different story than those from the agency that became involved as backup.The recording of my clientís alleged confession had disappeared.
Waiting in the Courtroom for the Judge prior to a pretrial hearing, the prosecutor said ďJeffrey, Iím going to enjoy beating you.Ē I didnít respond.
Diablo didnít show up for the second and third days of trial after being present for the first day, when the State put on most of its case.
After the Stateís closing argument I stood up and gave mine. I pointed out to the jury all the inconsistencies in the Stateís case, all the contradictions, the missing confession, and argued that there were dozens of facts that established that the State had not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
At this point the prosecutor finally got it and realized that she was in serious trouble.She stood up to give her rebuttal and said to the jury that they should excuse the police officersí conduct, using the television show Hill Street Blues as an example of how busy police officers are. I objected, stating that this was real life and not a made for television story.
The prosecutor was so certain that she had a winner that she had her finger print expert there to try to prove my clientís prior conviction. The jury returned after 45 minutes.
Diablo was found not guilty. The prosecutor began to cry in the Courtroom.
Adding to the pleasure of winning for my client is the fact that my long time friend, Sean Clancey, not long out of law school at the time, was second chairing the case with me.
State vs Coffman
In January of 2012 Robert Coffman hired me to represent him for DWI charges he had received in the Tucson City Court and for his administrative hearing before the Arizona Department of Transportationís Motor Vehicle Division regarding his Admin Per Se driverís license suspension.
It was clear to me that there was a viable issue as to whether or not Robert was in actual physical control of this vehicle at the time of his stop and arrest.
I first obtained all the disclosure (police reports and other documents connected with his case) from the prosecutorís office.
Early on a weekend morning I met with Robert at the scene of his stop/arrest so that we could discuss what happened, so that I could relate what was stated in the disclosure with the reality of the surroundings and so that I could take daylight photographs. Because Robertís stop/arrest took place at nighttime I went back a second time when it was dark out so that I could see what the scene looked like with nighttime lighting and to take a second set of photographs.
The next weekend I went to the law library at the University law school to do research on the issue of actual physical control. I had gone through a few DWI books that I have in my office and through the Arizona Criminal Jury Instructions prior to going to the library so that my time spent researching would be short and focused.
At the Motor Vehicle Hearing both Tucson Police Department Officers and Robert testified. The facts were set forth and then I presented those facts to the Administrative Law Judge in support of Robertís position that he was not in actual physical control of his vehicle at the time of his stop/arrest and that therefor there could be no administrative driverís license suspension. Within three weeks Robert and I received the Judgeís decision; Robert was not in actual physical control and there would be no suspension.
I then contacted the prosecutor in the Tucson City Prosecutorís Office, asking that she review the M.V.D. ruling which I had sent her. She advised me that I would need to discuss this with her supervisor, which I did, sending the ruling and the outline which I prepared showing the factual points that led the A.L.J. to find that there was no actual physical control.
The supervisor agreed with my position and offered to dismiss all charges against Robert in exchange for his attending the M.A.D.D. program and 16 hours of alcohol education classes.
Robert is very pleased with the work I did for him. He will not have his driverís license suspended, will not be convicted of any charges, will not have his automobile insurance rates go up.
I thank Robert for his permission in using his name and discussing his case.