The Legal Nexus

A blog of the Maricopa County Bar Association

Phoenix School of Law Moving to One North Central Building in Downtown Phoenix

Law School more than doubles space
for students, and moves closer to courts, law firms and downtown amenities

The Phoenix School of Law has announced that it will relocate to downtown Phoenix, in the One North Central building, located at the corner of North Central Avenue and East Washington Street.

The school is currently located on the southeast corner of Central Avenue and Indian School Road in Phoenix.

In a lease that begins Aug. 1, the school will occupy 205,130 square feet of the building’s 13th to 20th floors, and a portion of the first floor.

“Phoenix School of Law is extremely excited for our move to downtown Phoenix,” said Scott Thompson, school president. “This strategic initiative provides the foundation for the next phase of our institution, and will build on the attainment of full accreditation granted last summer by the American Bar Association.”

The new campus will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology, a fully operational mock courtroom, a legal clinic and a law library with an expansive physical collection of legal resources, and a variety of electronic databases. Continue reading


April 21, 2011 Posted by | About Us | Leave a comment

Maricopa County Lawyers Played Pivotal Roles in Ernesto Miranda Cases

Phoenix Attorney John Flynn, left, with Ernesto Miranda.

By Stan Watts

There was a time in the late 1960s when a paper airplane thrown during the lunch rush at Tom’s Tavern in downtown Phoenix would almost certainly have passed over the head of a lawyer who could legitimately claim to have played a part in the various cases of Ernesto Miranda. While much of the country was occupied with racial unrest, the British rock invasion and the Vietnam War, the criminal bar in Maricopa County was enmeshed in a debate about the fundamental 5th and 6th Amendment constitutional rights of accused criminals. Much of the debate swirled around this young man from Mesa and his generally undistinguished criminal career.

The Perp and Priors

Miranda’s notoriety as a celebrity criminal began with a short article in the Arizona Republic on March 14, 1963. Only a few days after his 23rd birthday and nine months after the birth of his daughter, Miranda was reported to have signed Continue reading

April 18, 2011 Posted by | About Us | Leave a comment

The Conspirator Posits: Did Justice or Revenge Result from an American Tragedy?

Frederick Aiken (played by James McAvoy) and Reverdy Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) on the steps of the Capitol. (Photo from

By Joan Dalton

America has suffered an overwhelming attack and the country recoils in horror and grief. The perpetrators must be brought swiftly to justice. For the United States government, swift justice means military tribunals for the accused.

The date of the tragedy that ignites the U.S. government’s reaction is not September 11, 2001, but April 14, 1865, and the event is not the attack on the World Trade Center towers, but rather, the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

In The Conspirator, Robert Redford presents the compelling story of Mary Surratt (played by Robin Wright), a Confederate sympathizer and the owner of a boarding house where John Wilkes Booth and others complicit in Lincoln’s assassination either visited or rented rooms. Continue reading

April 15, 2011 Posted by | About Us | Leave a comment

Ninth Circuit Upholds SB 1070 Injunction, State Preparing to Respond

Gov. Jan Brewer signing SB 1070 into law on April 23, 2010.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, April 11, upheld the decision by Judge Susan Bolton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona last summer to enjoin key parts of Arizona’s highly debated immigration bill SB 1070, which Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law last April.

A three-judge panel, comprising two conservative judges, made the decision to uphold Bolton’s injunction. Writing the opinion was Judge Richard Paez, with Judge John T. Noonan concurring and Judge Carlos T. Bea expressing partial concurrence and partial dissent.

Supporters of SB 1070 have promised to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Ninth Circuit court’s ruling in hopes that the largely conservative high court will be more empathetic to their cause.

In his opinion, Judge Paez wrote that though Congress intended for states to be involved in enforcing immigration laws, under the supervision of the state’s Attorney General, it did not intend to grant states the authority to remove immigrants, which is the “purview of the federal government.”

Furthermore, the court found that SB 1070 interferes with Congress’ scheme in enforcing immigration laws by allowing Continue reading

April 14, 2011 Posted by | About Us | Leave a comment

College of Law Practice Management Seeks 2011 InnovAction Awards Nominations

The College of Law Practice Management (the College), an international organization that recognizes excellence in law practice management, is calling for entries for its 2011 InnovAction Awards. This is a world-wide search for lawyers, law firms, law departments and others in the legal services field that have invented or successfully applied new business practices to the delivery of legal services. The goal of the InnovAction Awards is to demonstrate to the legal community what can be created when dedicated professionals with big ideas and strong convictions are determined to make a difference.

2011 InnovAction Award nominations are due by June 1 and will be judged on the basis of four primary criteria – originality; disruption; value, and effectiveness. The presentation of the InnovAction awards will occur at the 2011 Futures Conference held in conjunction with the College’s Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL on October 28 – 29, 2011. More details on the award as well as past winners can be viewed here

April 7, 2011 Posted by | About Us | Leave a comment

AZ Supreme Court Chief Justice Berch speaks to Accomplishments, Proposed Merit Selection Changes

Despite dreary weather accented by a gray sky and an endless drizzle of rain, Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch’s annual State of the Judiciary address was largely optimistic.

In her address, presented March 21 to a joint session of the Arizona Legislature, Berch touted the courts’ work over the past 12 months and the judiciary’s efforts to protect children, families and communities.

The chief justice opened her approximately 15-minute speech by outlining the Supreme Court’s recent accomplishments, including implementing new attorney discipline system rules and establishing the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge. She also highlighted the judiciary’s successes in launching statewide e-filing; working to reduce the crime rate and the number of probation revocations through implementing the Safe Communities Act, which the Legislature passed in 2008; and assisting in the deportation of illegal immigrants convicted of felony crimes through changes to protocols for determining the legal status of individuals in the probation program.

Berch also detailed efforts to improve the state’s probate court system by enhancing transparency in the system, Continue reading

April 6, 2011 Posted by | About Us | Leave a comment

Seeking Attorney Volunteers for Legal Assistance to Women in Shelters (LAWS)

The LAWS program was developed to provide pro se information to women at domestic violence shelters. The focus of the LAWS program is to provide education, resources and tips to victims of domestic violence to familiarize them with the legal process from starting a case to the final trial. This will be done via a series of one-hour seminars presented to women at domestic violence shelters across the Valley. The session topics include:

i.   Introduction to the Courts, Resources, How to File and/or Respond to a Case, How to Represent Yourself in the Courtroom; Courtroom Etiquette; What to Do if You Don’t Like the Result
ii.   Family Court/Custody/Child Support
iii.  Orders of Protection
iv.  Bankruptcy/Foreclosures
v.  Immigration/VAWA

We need volunteers to help present these topics to the shelters. If you would like to learn more about the LAWS program, please contact Alexandra Gormley at If you are interested in volunteering, please submit your name, contact information, and preferred topic of presentation to Alexandra Gormley at  Also, please indicate if you can speak Spanish. Of course, if you have any friends that you think would be interested in volunteering, please feel free to pass this email on to them.

April 4, 2011 Posted by | About Us | Leave a comment

E-filing: Exceptions to the Rules

By Michael K. Jeanes, Clerk of the Superior Court

AZTurboCourt is being phased in for attorneys who file pleadings in civil cases in the Superior Court in Maricopa County.

By May 1, 2011, all attorneys who file in civil cases will have to electronically file through AZTurboCourt, unless an exception applies. Arizona Supreme Court Administrative Order 2010-117 explains the details of the implementation of AZTurboCourt, including the attorneys and filings that are exempt from e-filing.

Although electronic case-initiation is being tested, it is not yet available. Cases must still be initiated on paper at a Clerk’s facility. Clerk staff will cashier the filing fee and apply the file stamp and case number before scanning the paper into the Clerk’s Electronic Court Record (ECR).

Mandatory e-filing through AZTurboCourt applies exclusively to post-initiation civil case documents filed into the Superior Court in Maricopa County by attorneys filing on behalf of a client. Any attorney for whom e-filing through AZTurboCourt is not-yet mandatory may choose to e-file through AZTurboCourt. Attorneys must e-file through AZTurboCourt in civil cases according to the schedule defined in the Administrative Order.
Continue reading

March 31, 2011 Posted by | About Us | Leave a comment

Montini Mixes Humor with Gravitas at Membership Luncheon

E.J. Montini

By Laura Swendseid

Long-time Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini, who’s no stranger to receiving sharp criticism (and sometimes praise) for sharing his views on current issues, brought a mixed bag of humor, perspective and seriousness to the first Membership Luncheon of the year.

About 70 members attended the luncheon, which was held at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix on March 29.

Montini, a veteran writer who also proved to be an astute and entertaining speaker, elicited plenty of laughs through his tales of attending Catholic school, discussion on current events, and a tongue-in-cheek reading of several of the hundreds of emails he receives each day.

A Propagandist Scumbag
Among those emails, many of which were riddled with profane language, was one in which the writer called Montini a “propagandist,” “scumbag” and “pile of human garbage” (not including the expletives). Another offered the perfect solution to the border-security problem: placing Montini’s fetid corpse on the border to ward off any incoming illegal immigrants.

Montini said he came up with an apt way to respond to the malicious emails by sending the writers what appeared to be a computer-generated reply thanking them for their “kind words.” The fastest response time Montini logged after sending the email was 28 seconds, and included the writer angrily relating that they had not sent Montini a complimentary email. Montini responded post-haste by sending a second “computer-generated response” email.

Lessons from Catholic School
On a heavier note, Montini talked about the best lesson he learned in his eight years of attending Catholic School,
Continue reading

March 30, 2011 Posted by | About Us | Leave a comment

MCBA President Took Detour from Science to Become Lawyer

By Laura Swendseid

MCBA President David Benton

MCBA President David Benton admits that he is a very curious

person. From being involved in a host of activities totreading the paths of two very different careers, Benton has a zeal for knowledge and working with others.

Benton, who works as General Counsel at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in the Office of General Litigation, and has been a member of the Association about six years, said he has always had a passion for learning. Born and raised in Los Angeles with three sisters – two older and one younger – he enjoyed academics and particularly in math. Encouraged by a high school teacher, he used his math skills to pursue a Bachelor’s of Science degree in chemistry from the California State University, Long Beach.

After graduating from college, Benton landed a position in materials and process engineering at McDonnell Douglas (now the Boeing Company), where he worked for eight years in materials and process engineering, followed by several years at the Hughes Aircraft Company, where among other projects, he built a machine to clean defense electronics systems with water, basically a “high-tech washing machine,” Benton explained.

Despite the mental stimulation and challenge of working on such technical projects, Benton said he lost interest in what
Continue reading

March 30, 2011 Posted by | About Us | Leave a comment