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 client’s 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 Court’s ruling.
I took the case to the Arizona Supreme Court, which reversed the Court of Appeals and trial Court, holding that the victim’s identification of Mr. Mena had been tainted by an illegal pre-trial identification procedure.
Mr. Mena was released from prison.
The State did not appeal the Arizona Supreme Court’s 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 Court’s decision. The legal citation is 128 Ariz. 226, 624 P.2d 1274 (1981).
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 Court’s 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.
The prosecutor was the head of the Gang Crime Unit with the Attorney General’s 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 client’s alleged confession had disappeared.
Waiting in the Courtroom for the Judge prior to a pretrial hearing, the prosecutor said ‘Jeffrey, I’m going to enjoy beating you.’ I didn’t respond.
Diablo didn’t 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 State’s closing argument I stood up and gave mine. I pointed out to the jury all the inconsistencies in the State’s 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 officers’ 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 client’s 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.
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 Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Division regarding his Admin Per Se driver’s 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 prosecutor’s 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 Robert’s 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 Robert’s 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 driver’s license suspension. Within three weeks Robert and I received the Judge’s decision; Robert was not in actual physical control and there would be no suspension.
I then contacted the prosecutor in the Tucson City Prosecutor’s 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 driver’s 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.
Mr. Blackman was helpful from day one. He reached out to me by email and phone on a weekly basis and answered my questions promptly. He worked with me for months and was a great lawyer to have on my side. He was committed to my case, determined to see that I wasn’t charged with a crime. I highly recommend having Jeffrey as a lawyer.
Mr. Blackman was instrumental in helping with our daughter’s case. He was professional and demonstrated great knowledge and experience. He made the process less stressful and expedited a positive outcome. We would highly recommend Mr. Blackman for your legal needs.
Mr. Blackman is an outstanding attorney. He handled my case with honesty, efficiency and extraordinary knowledge. Anyone looking for an attorney with exemplary credentials, he is the best of the best.