Phoenix Freeway Shooter: Public Enemy or Scapegoat?

By now, everyone in Phoenix and around Arizona knows about it. In fact, everyone around country knows about it because of the national media coverage it received. When a sniper is basically shooting at random cars along the I-10 freeway, it’s no surprise that police will pour their efforts into arresting someone to quench the public’s thirst for an arrest. And when police arrested Leslie Merritt, Jr., they quenched that thirst.

But now that the news is out that Leslie Merritt, Jr. will be represented by none others than yours truly, Phoenix criminal defense attorney Jason Lamm, I have a unique perspective on the case based on extensive police reports and other information that the public, and the media doesn’t have access to.


From the tweet of Arizona’s Governor, Doug Ducey which read “We got him!” it’s pretty clear that the Leslie Merritt, Jr. has become Public Enemy Number One in Phoenix. Last I checked, though, the Governor of a state is an elected official who heads the executive branch. He is not a member of the judiciary, yet he has apparently dubbed himself judge, jury, and executioner.

Now this isn’t to say that the Governor Ducey is a bad guy, but it doesn’t take an experienced criminal defense lawyer to point out that the type of thinking expressed in his tweet, echoes the public sentiment that whomever the police arrested will be a scapegoat who bears the brunt of the public’s fear and being on edge for weeks as they drove valley freeways, not knowing if they would be shot at.


But the reality is that at this point, Leslie Merritt, Jr. is innocent and he is not the Phoenix Freeway Shooter. Let’s put aside this whole inconvenient presumption of innocence thing found in the Constitution, put thus far no actual evidence has been provided that shows that Merritt is anything more than a scapegoat. In fact, police keep switching their theory of the case to conform to the new evidence they find. Pardon the bad pun, but the prosecution’s case seems like a moving target.

What am I going to do as Leslie Merritt, Jr.’s criminal defense attorney? - The same thing that I do in every case. I will leave no stone unturned and thoroughly explore each and every angle. In the meantime, everyone needs to take a deep breath, including Governor Ducey. Let the system do its job and let Leslie Merritt have the due process that he’s entitled – it’s no different than the due process that you, your brother, or your kid would be entitled to if they were charged with a crime.

p.s. Sorry, Governor Ducey – if this case goes to trial, you’re not going to be on the jury. No hard feelings.

If you have questions about what our Phoenix criminal defense lawyer can do for your case, contact us today!

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