The Law Offices of John Phebus

Criminal Defense Archives

Civil rights group releases report on law enforcement hacking

Huge government surveillance programs have been the subject of many media stories and political debates in recent years, but Arizona residents may be unfamiliar with one of the latest forms of electronic surveillance used by federal law enforcement agencies. A report released recently by several civil rights groups reveals that government agents are now able to install malicious software on the computers of hundreds or even thousands of individuals suspected of being involved in illegal activity without first obtaining search warrants. This malware is then used to monitor what these individuals are up to online and gather evidence that could be used against them.

Former Arizona firefighter facing criminal charges

A former Arizona firefighter is facing a raft of charges including counts of sexual assault and kidnapping after police in Glendale released a sketch of an alleged sexual predator and received a flood of calls. Police quickly identified and located the 52-year-old Phoenix Fire Department veteran, and officers say that he was subsequently taken into custody without a struggle. The man is being held without bail at a Maricopa County detention facility in connection with the alleged attempted rape and sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman in Glendale on Sept. 25.

On search and seizure

The legal rights of people who have been accused of a crime in Arizona are well documented. There are stringent regulations governing the kinds of evidence that can be used in criminal trials, and the ways in which evidence may be gathered are the subject of an enormous body of law. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and the meaning of that term has been the subject of numerous Supreme Court cases.

Study connects sleep deprivation with false confessions

Arizona residents may be familiar with research linking false confessions with a controversial law enforcement tactics such as the Reid technique. This type of high-pressure approach is employed by police officers when they are dealing with uncooperative and truculent suspects, but poorly educated or mentally challenged individuals may sometimes confess to crimes that they did not commit just to put an end to the questioning.

Legal implications in false confession cases

Arizona residents might be familiar with the Netflix documentary entitled "Making a Murderer". The series addresses the false confession of an individual who was 16 years old at the time a female photographer was murdered in 2005. A similar false confession case occurred in 2009, involving a man who allegedly raped and strangled a female neighbor in 1993. Both cases bear similarities to each other, especially the fact that an interrogation method known as the Reid Technique was used with the defendants.

Married Arizona residents protected by spousal privilege

Different individuals and groups enjoy special privileges when it comes to whether or not they must reveal information in certain formal proceedings. In addition to the rights of physicians, psychotherapists and social workers not to disclose information from their patients and clients during judicial goings-on, many spouses are granted a similar set of allowances.

Criminal implications for safety violations on the job

Although Arizona employers can face charges for some safety violations, these are typically misdemeanor penalties at worst. However, a memorandum of understanding that was signed in December 2015 will leave more room for federal criminal prosecutions in the future. The agreement includes the Department of Justice as well as the Department of Labor, and it is designed to make it easier to deal with safety crimes through the court system. The two departments will coordinate more efficiently with each other to achieve this goal.

Police may have engaged in illegal wiretapping operation

Arizona residents might be interested in a wiretapping operation that is being investigated for breaking federal law. Law enforcement officers in a single Los Angeles suburb were reportedly behind one out of five wiretaps in the United States in 2014. While authorization for wiretaps is not supposed to be easy for police to obtain, federal drug investigators in Riverside County listened in on the phone conversations of 52,000 people since the middle of 2013.

Phoenix Mercury ready to rise after tumultuous off-season

She stands tall on the basketball court but has struggled in recent days off of the court. Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner even had to go to a court with her attorney after her then-fiancée Glory Johnson accused her of domestic violence.

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