Archive for May, 2010
SB1070 has created quite a problem and a dividing line in Arizona and across the Country. I think the majority of people are more concerned about what the results will be or what they anticipate the officers will do as opposed to the actual wording of the statute. The wording itself is not that difficult to understand when compared to other laws created by the Arizona Legislature.
“For any lawful stop, detention or arrest made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of this state or a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town of this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person, except if the determination may hinder or obstruct an investigation.”
According to the plain wording of the statute this is basically what is needed:
• First, there has to be a lawful stop, detention or arrest by an officer; and
• Second, the officer must have reasonable suspicion to believe that the person is an alien and is unlawfully present in the US.
If those two things are present then the officer is required to make a reasonable attempt to determine the person’s status. That is it. The wording is not confusing and is pretty clear. The confusion and the questions come from the meaning:
• What is a lawful stop or detention (an arrest is pretty easy to figure out);
• What is reasonable suspicion; and
• What can reasonable suspicion be based upon.
No one is sure who the law will actually play out, and whether it will actually take effect. In fact, the Arizona Republic had an article last week that included numerous scenarios with answers/comments by various lawyers and legislators and they all had different answers to the scenarios. By now you likely know that I am an attorney and I could even think of several different answers to each scenario because I am not even sure how to interpret it. Again, it will be the interpretation and the implementation of the law that will be problem.
And, following up on my last comment, the biggest concern comes from the interpretation and implementation by the cops. In fact, I don’t think the cops even know how to interpret or implement the law. The various agencies are hard at work coming up with a training program to teach the officers, but, things will likely change and they will make mistakes. I wouldn’t want to be a cop right now because they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. For those officers who don’t like the law they will still be required to follow it because they can be reprimanded/suspended/terminated if they don’t, AND they can be sued by any citizen. I suppose there are some cops that are salivating over the law and cannot wait for it to take effect, but I would like to hope that this number is few.
I will continue to keep you updated on my thoughts and the turn of events, but, in the meantime you can catch me on KTAR 92.3 on Thursday nights at 8:30 p.m.
Whether you are for or against the death penalty for convicted killers, the news that came out this week and reported in the Arizona Republic is surprising and interesting. There is apparently a worldwide shortage of the drug “thiopental sodium” which is a drug used in lethal-injection procedures. Some believe that Arizona executions could be jeopardized because of this. This may come as good news to some and bad news to others, but I find it a bit unbelieveable that they actually ran out of the drug. I mean, after all, how many people are actually executed in a year? It couldn’t possibly be enough to run out of the drug!
If this is all new to you then you may be surprised to learn that Arizona does have the death penalty. In fact, Arizona has an official execution-procedure manual that was finalized September 2009. Makes you wonder who had the wonderful task of drafting that piece of literature. Hanging and the firing squad is no longer a reality here in Arizona. It executes convicted killers by using a cocktail of three drugs that are injected intravenously. The first is Thiopental which renders the person unconscious and supposedly impervious to the other two drugs. The second, Pancuronium Bromide, paralyzes the defendant so there are no visual signs of twitching or respiratory distress that could occur. Apparently this is for the sake of the witnesses. The last drug, Potassium Chloride, stops the heart.
Arizona carried out its last execution by lethal injection in May 2007, when it put to death Robert Comer, who murdered a man at an Apache Lake campground in 1987. It took 20 years.
The next possible execution in Arizona is that of Richard Lynn Bible. He was convicted for raping and murdering a 9 year old girl in Flagstaff back in 1988. The Arizona Supreme Court will be discussing his case this week or next. If the Court issues a death warrant he will be scheduled for execution in late June. But, if there is no drug available there will be no execution.
There is only one company in the U.S. that manufactures thiopental sodium, the needed drug, Hospira. The Arizona Republic reported that Dan Rosenberg, a spokesman for Hospira, said that the shortage was due to an unspecified “manufacturing issue.” Hospira expects the drug will be available again sometime between July 1 and September 30.
Believe it or not, Michael Jackson may have a remote connection to the shortage of the drug. An insider told the Arizona Republic that available stores of Thiopental have been further depleted because of a shortage of the drug Propofol, the anesthetic that killed pop star Michael Jackson. I don’t know, perhaps the fallout from the Jackson case is effecting the availability and manufacture of the drug.
Although there is probably a generic version of the needed drug, it cannot be swapped out because Arizona protocol dictates that this particular drug be used. The protocol does not allow a generic to be used. The protocol could be changed but it would take a while and cost the tax payers even more money paying those that would have to address and argue the issue.
Again, whether you are for or against the Death Penalty I think this is interesting and something you do not hear everyday. Putting someone to death through the legal system is extremely expensive and time consuming. From what I understand, it is more expensive for the taxpayers than housing an inmate for life. I do not know the most current statistics; however, with the budget shortfalls all over this state maybe something needs to change.