It is almost expected that a criminal defense attorney will be aggressive and use some “gray area” tactics. Many clients say that these are traits that they are looking for when they hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent them or their loved ones.
A double standard for prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers?
Prosecutors are held to a different standard, though. The Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct and the American Bar Association Guidelines dictate that special rules and duties are imposed on a prosecutor as they are “ministers of justice.” Among other things, they have a duty to turn over to a defendant, or his criminal defense attorney, all exculpatory or mitigating evidence. Even if the evidence is damaging to the prosecution’s case, it still must be turned over.
What happened to Jodi Arias’ prosecutor, Juan Martinez?
Last week, Martinez was sanctioned and placed on probation by the Arizona Supreme Court for:
- Engaging in unprofessional conduct.
- Using means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden another person, or using methods of obtaining evidence that violates the legal rights of such a person by, among other things, improperly attacking the defendant.
- Engaging in professional misconduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.
The second item, though, is most troubling to the Phoenix career homicide prosecutor. By disciplining the improper use of embarrassing, attacking, and violating the rights of criminal defendants without a substantial purpose, the Arizona Supreme Court made clear to the public that Martinez crossed the line many times, earning him a permanent stain on his record.
Your Best Offense Is a Really Good Criminal Defense Attorney
Juan Martinez is not the only prosecutor who has committed misconduct, and it doesn’t just happen in murder cases. It could be in a major drug case, a white collar case, or in a sex case. The common denominator is that some prosecutors want to win at all costs, even if they violate the rights of others, breaking their oath to do justice.
An experienced and aggressive Phoenix criminal defense lawyer can make sure that prosecutors are held accountable so that your rights are not violated. Because prosecutorial misconduct is sometimes deliberately subtle, an experienced attorney can anticipate a prosecutor’s next (dirty) move and stop the misconduct before it happens. If the prosecutor still tries to get away with it, a veteran criminal defense attorney can increase the chances of the prosecutor being sanctioned by a trial judge. Sanctions can range from being admonished in front of the jury all the way up to the dismissal of the charges against the defendant.
Jason Lamm has been recognized as a leader in Arizona’s community of criminal defense attorneys. Routinely defending serious felony charges in Arizona’s state and federal courts, Jason has achieved unparalleled recent results in white collar case, sex crimes, and drug cases – to name a few.
If you have been charged with serious felony offenses and can’t afford to have a prosecutor take advantage of you in a vulnerable situation, contact the Law Office of Jason Lamm at (602) 663-9100 to set up a confidential personal consultation.