Phoenix Criminal Law News - Find a Phoenix Criminal Attorney

July 2010 Archives

Woman Found With Dead Cats in Home Could Face Felony Charge

An 80-year-old woman from Wittmann is in a great deal of legal trouble after Maricopa County sheriff's deputies found 104 cats in the woman's small home, along with nine kittens that were found dead in various refrigerators. The Arizona Republic reports that the elderly woman named Lucienne Touboul now faces felony animal-abuse charges and could spend time behind bars for hoarding the cats.

Maricopa County is known for its hot summers, where many people suffer from dehydration and heat exhaustion. Unfortunately, small children are the ones that often become victims of heat stroke and their parents can be charged with child abuse if there's a death or serious injury involved.

When parents are charged with child abuse in such a situation that is accidental, it's a good idea to contact a Phoenix criminal lawyer so that they can be properly represented in court and avoid such a severe conviction. Associated Press reports that a Chandler mother named April Carpenter was recently able to avoid child abuse charges altogether when police officers saw that the death of her three year old son was nothing more than a tragic accident.

Former Kyrene School District Principal Janet Thor Accused of Fraud

A former principal of Kyrene de los Cerritos and Kyrene del Cielo elementary schools in the Kyrene School district has been accused of misusing $54,000 in donations and putting them into a private bank account. On Monday, the suspect Janet Thor was indicted on 16 counts of misuse of public monies, two counts of theft and two counts of fraudulent schemes, according to the Arizona Republic.

SB 1070 Goes Into Effect Today

Arizona's controversial immigration law SB 1070 officially takes effect today; however a federal judge issued an injunction yesterday that is blocking key portions of the law from being enforced. So perhaps SB 1070 isn't as tough as state lawmakers intended it to be.

The law originally stated that any immigrant found without proper documentation would be charged with a misdemeanor and that law enforcers could arrest immigrants based on reasonable suspicion. But ABC News reports that portions of the law that U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton put on hold are the "reasonable suspicion" section yesterday, which would have allowed police to arrest and detain suspected illegal immigrants without a warrant.

Surprise Police Arrest Man in Circle K Store Robbery

A man suspected of robbing a Circle K store in the town of Surprise earlier this month was arrested by police officers in Surprise. ABC News reports that the suspect John Moore was arrested after an El Mirage police officer recognized John Moore from a flyer that was requesting information about the man.

The El Mirage police officer then detained the 41-year-old suspect and Surprise police officers responded to the location. John Moore was accused of taking cigarettes from a Circle K store near Grand Avenue and Greenway Boulevard and then demanding cash from the clerk before fleeing the scene.

Arpaio Raid Leads to Five Arrests at Valley View Building Services

Five people were recently arrested in a Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio raid of a Phoenix business, according to the Arizona Republic. Four out of the five suspects are believed to be in the country illegally, which is what initially tipped an investigation.

An Avondale special-education teacher was accused of raping a special-needs student sometime between March 23 and April 2, but the teacher at Agua Fria High School claims that he is innocent and that the teen fabricated the rape story. Last May, he pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, sexual abuse and sexual conduct with a minor.

The Arizona Republic reports that the Phoenix criminal lawyers representing the defendant Brian Willner have been given access to records that they believe will prove the allegations that the teenager made the rape story up. Defense attorneys Richard Lougee and Christopher Dupont requested the release of the girl's medical, mental health, criminal history and Child Protective Services records. Superior Court Judge Paul McMurdie granted the attorneys' request for the records on July 13.

Jamie Laiaddee Still Missing, Boyfriend Charged With Forgery

Jamie Laiaddee, A 32-year-old Chandler woman, mysteriously went missing last March, but police officers have not given up on the investigation. The Arizona Republic reports that authorities believe that the woman's boyfriend could have been involved in her disappearance.

The woman's boyfriend, Rick Wayne Valentini, has been charged with six felony counts of forgery along with one count of misconduct involving weapons following Jamie Laiaddee's abrupt disappearance. Police have so far not been able to link him to other crimes involving the woman's kidnapping.

Judge Issues Arrest Warrant For Officer Seth Castillo

A Phoenix cop is pulling a Lindsay Lohan by not showing up to his court hearing for a DUI case. If he keeps this up then he may end up with a jail sentence just like the young pop star. KPHO reported that a warrant for arrest has been issued for Officer Seth Castillo for failing to show up to his pretrial conference.

It's still not clear why Seth Castillo didn't show up for the routine hearing on Friday morning, but he'll probably want a Phoenix criminal defense attorney to come to his rescue so that he can avoid jail. FindLaw states that when a judge issues a bench warrant to a defendant for not appearing in court, police officers can then locate the suspect and place the suspect under formal arrest.

For Goodness Sakes Charity Hit With Theft

For Goodness Sakes sits proudly as a thrift store on Happy Valley Drive that donates 100 percent of its proceeds to animal rescue groups. As a charitable organization, it seems as if the store really can't afford to lose money, so it's no surprise that owners Chris and Paty Williams are upset by the store's recent theft.

ABC News reports that For Goodness Sakes had a large sale on Saturday July 3 and that excess merchandise was loaded into two trailers after the sale. Yet on July 4, Chris and Paty Williams reported to police in Cave Creek that the 5x8 cargo trailer and car trailer were both stolen early in the morning. The couple said that they found many of the stolen goods strewn along the side of the road on Carefree Highway, which indicates that items may have flown out of the trailers while the thieves were trying to make a getaway.

Daimen Irizarry Found Guilty of All Counts

A Phoenix jury found 31-year-old Daimen Irizarry guilty of all 13 criminal counts that he was charged with, including charges of aggravated assault, drive-by shooting and unlawful flight from law enforcement. The East Valley Tribune reports that the defendant was involved in the death of Gilbert police officer Lt. Eric Shuhandler  last January when he assisted his friend Christopher Redondo in a shooting and led at least 12 police vehicles on a 50-mile chase from the town of Mesa to Superior.

Man Charged After Allegedly Kidnapping Ex-Girlfriend

An Arizona man from the town of Aztec will probably soon be contacting a criminal defense attorney, now that he has been formally charged with the numerous felony crimes that he had been accused of. Associated Press say that the 21-year-old suspect, Efren Partida, was arrested after he allegedly kidnapped his 18-year-old ex-girlfriend.

Welton police say that they received a call on Tuesday from a woman that claimed her 18-year-old daughter was kidnapped from her home and that the teenager was forced into Efren Partida's car at gunpoint. The police were eventually able to catch up with the suspect's vehicle and make an arrest.

Rand Williams Accused of Holding Apartment Manager at Gunpoint

A Mesa man allegedly held an apartment complex manager up at gunpoint in the complex's office near Mesa Drive and McKellips Road. According to the Arizona Republic, the male suspect was wearing a skirt and pullover golf shirt  at the time of the reported incident.

The manager says that he had called 53-year-old Rand Williams into his office to discuss complaints from neighbors about his indecent exposure. The man, however, showed up carrying a .22-caliber rifle and a BB gun and pointed the guns at the manager's upper body, threatening to shoot him. A woman who worked in the front office was then able to call police to report the incident.

Daniel Espinoza Arrested After Allegedly Fighting Police

A man from Mesa was arrested after police say that he gave officers a broken hand and a strained knee. ABC News reports that Mesa police officers responded to a 911 hang-up call on Tuesday night, which led officers to investigate a residence in the area of 8th Avenue and Grand.

When the Mesa officers arrived at the scene, Daniel Espinoza denied that there was a problem, but had a cut to his hand and blood on his shirt. When officers questioned the blood, the suspect reportedly threatened the officers with a fist in the air.

Thomas Destories Pleads Guilty After Plea Bargain Established

Thomas Patrick Destories, of Phoenix, was initially charged with first-degree murder, drive-by shooting and shooting a gun at a structure after allegedly shooting an employee of Redflex Traffic Systems in a photo enforcement van.

However, the Arizona Republic reports that with a Phoenix criminal defense attorney, Thomas Destories was able to plead guilty to a second degree murder charge, which is far less severe than a first degree murder charge. The man was also able to get the second and third counts dismissed from his case through a plea agreement. The sentencing for the defendant has been scheduled for August 20 in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Teenager Arrested For Smuggling Marijuana Across Border

Perhaps some teens just don't learn their lesson after an arrest. ABC News reports that a 17-year-old boy was recently caught by Border Patrol agents near the Mexican border with a backpack that allegedly contained 30 pounds of marijuana, which has a street value of about $24,000. The teenage boy was also caught just five days before smuggling marijuana; 27 pounds to be exact.

The teenager is a citizen of Mexico and was reportedly crossing the border illegally. Border Patrol agents in Arizona were able to track down the suspect by investigating a bicycle's tire tracks near the Colorado River. Agents were then able to locate the teenager on Sunday in brush.  The Border Patrol agents have since turned the juvenile and the marijuana over to the Yuma County Narcotics Task Force.

Should Steven DeMocker Have Bail Amount Lowered?

Prosecutors charged Prescott stockbroker Steven DeMocker with first degree murder in July 2008, after authorities suspected that he had beaten his former wife Carol Kennedy to death. Yet criminal defense lawyers have argued since the incident that the murder case is based almost entirely on circumstantial evidence. Now, more than two years after his wife's death, Steven DeMocker's trial is scheduled to begin tomorrow, according to The Daily Courier.

Ramiro Garibay Faces Up to 35 Years in Prison for Stabbing

Many residents of the Valley might remember the incident in which 34-year-old Ramiro Garibay was accused of stabbing a Glendale police officer last summer and then fleeing the scene of the stabbing. The crime may have been frightening to hear for some Arizonians, but the Arizona Republic reports that the man was convicted last week of an aggravated assault charge stemming from the incident.

Police arrested Ramiro Garibay after video surveillance revealed that he was involved in an unrelated vehicle theft crime. Through the video surveillance, the wounded Glendale officer was able to identify the vehicle theft suspect as his attacker.

The Cost Of SB 1070: State Already Paying Large Sums of Money

Across the Grand Canyon state, many law enforcers and Phoenix criminal lawyers have come out against Arizona's controversial immigration law SB 1070. But Associated Press reports that such opposition may not be enough to stop the law from going into effect on July 29.

Not only do Phoenix criminal lawyers see the new immigration law as a harsh misdemeanor crime that violates the basic legal rights of many Americans, but it's also a crime that could end up costing the state of Arizona a fortune. The law has not yet gone into effect, but the Associated Press reports that the state has already had to pay $77,000 to defend the immigration enforcement law in court since the U.S. Department of Justice has filed to challenge the law.

Man Pleads Not Guilty After Authorities Find Child Porn in Home

A 49-year-old Phoenix resident has been accused of leaving child pornography on a photo kiosk at a Fountain Hills CVS store, where the suspect works as a manager. The Arizona Republic reports that after an investigation, authorities found more than 100 4-by-6-inch photographs of children in sexually exploitive poses in the suspect's home.

The suspect Michael Brown is now facing 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, so he'll definitely want a Phoenix criminal defense attorney to defend him in this case. The state of Arizona treats child pornography cases and sexual exploitation of a minor charges very seriously, where it's not uncommon for such offenders to be sentenced to life in prison

Randolph Sipple Arrested After Allegedly Tying up his Wife

Randolph Sipple, of Phoenix, was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly tying up his wife with electrical tape and gagging her with a sock. According to the Arizona Republic, the victim said that her husband had also smacked her and threatened to kill her.

After Randolph Sipple had left the home near Loop 101 and 23rd Avenue, Phoenix police said that the woman was eventually able to break free from the electrical tape and call 911. The wife, Amy Sipple, claims that her husband was carrying a gun when she was being tied up, but police say that a gun was not found when investigating. Now, the Arizona Republic reports that the man could face charges of threatening or intimidating, unlawful imprisonment and assault over the alleged incident.

Pamela Phillips Pleads Not Guilty in Car Bomb Case

A Tucson businessman was killed by a car bomb 14 years ago and now authorities have linked the man's ex-wife as the main suspect behind the killing. The Arizona Daily Star reports that the ex-wife Pamela Phillips was formally charged with first degree murder and conspiracy, but on Wednesday a criminal defense attorney entered not guilty pleas on her behalf.

Pamela Phillips was not physically present for her own hearing, but she did appear at the Pima County Superior Court through video conferencing. The woman has been in the Pima County jail since July 3, when she was extradited from Switzerland. She is currently being held in jail on $5 million bond.

David Cygan Sentenced to Probation For Crown King Fire

Many Arizonians still remember the Crown King fire in June 2008, which burned 9,629 acres of forest land and caused the evacuation of all residents of the town of Crown King. The Yuma Sun reported that the cost of fighting the fire was $5.7 million.

Now, the 52-year-old man that was seen as responsible for the start of the fire was sentenced on Monday to five years of supervised probation and 150 hours of community service for his conviction of leaving a fire unattended and unextinguished. The defendant David Alexander Cygan was also convicted of unauthorized possession of a badge belonging to the National Park Service.

Randall Pfeil's Body Found on Property of Former Hells Angel

William Gary Potter, a former head of the Hells Angels chapter in Tucson, has recently been arrested and booked into the Pima County jail on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of Randall Scott Pfeil.

The Hells Angeles Motorcycle Club is known for riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles and had a history of criminal activity. In Tucson, the 54-year-old former Hells Angel member was arrested after authorities found a body buried on his property, according to Associated Press.

Couple Accused of Theft From Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall

A couple could be facing charges of theft, criminal damage, and burglary after authorities arrested the two people for allegedly stealing four video surveillance cameras from an Apache Junction Kingdom Hall.

Associated Press reports that the two suspects were identified as 33-year-old Charles Gibbs and 26-year-old Jessica Hayes and were recently booked into the Pinal County Jail. As of Monday, Charles Gibbs was being held on $20,000 bond at the Pinal County Jail. Jessica Hayes was released from jail on $2,500 bond.

John Rodriguez Convicted of Fraud After Posing as Marine

A 31-year-old man from Scottsdale was convicted of 12-fraud related counts for pretending to be a decorated Marine. While some Arizonians many not see this as a serious crime, a Maricopa County jury found that the man was guilty of several serious charges, including forgery, fraudulent schemes and presentation of a false instrument for filing.

The Arizona Republic reports that John Rodriguez was arrested after a former marine saw him at a military function and suspected that he was not a Marine. John Rodriguez was wearing a decorated uniform, but his uniform was not complete. Investigators found that the man had never been in the military and that the man had pretended to be a decorated veteran at several functions.

Arizona Authorities Looking For Robbery Suspect Jonathan Keilman

The Arizona Republic reports that an 18-year-old man from Dolan Springs has been accused of robbing another man at gunpoint  after the two got into an argument about a job. The robbery suspect was identified as Jonathan Keilman, who had reportedly been hired to work for the victim but did not show up to to complete the job on time.

The man finally showed up to the victim's home, but was told that the work had already been given to somebody else. The suspect then allegedly pointed a gun at the man and asked him to put his wallet on the ground. Jonathan Keilman then allegedly took the wallet and fled the scene.

Rodney Smith Sentenced For Shooting At College Computer Lab

Rodney Eugene Smith was a victim of aggravated assault in December 2007, where he was knocked unconscious and broke his jaw in three places when he was attacked by Leander Louis, Isaac Smith, and Rashad McCuin. Yet the Arizona Republic reports that the assault victim was recently sentenced to one year in jail and five years of probation for a separate attack, which he claims was a form of self-defense.

Trial of Daimen Irizarry Begins

ABC News reports that opening statements and testimony began last week for the case of Daimen Irizarry, the man who has been accused of assisting with the shooting a Gilbert police officer last January with his friend Christopher Redondo.

The 31-year-old Arizona man has been charged with drive-by shooting, aggravated assault and unlawful flight for his involvement in Lt. Eric Shuhandler's death. The victim was allegedly shot in the face by Christopher Redondo and Daimen Irizarry. They both allegedly led at least 12 police vehicles on a 50-mile chase immediately after the shooting.

A student food fight at Williams Field High School last May got way out of hand and now two teenagers are being charged with aggravated criminal damage and interference with an educational institution for allegedly causing $170,000 in damage to the campus.

The Arizona Republic reports that the two students that have been charged over the incident are 16 and 17 years old. They have been accused of using a lighter to set off sprinkler heads in the Gilbert high school's only building during the food fight. The water from the sprinklers reportedly caused damage in eight classrooms and carpeting, floor tiles, drywall ceilings, electrical outlets and baseboards had to be replaced.

Defense Attorneys Want Evidence Excluded in Sweat Lodge Case

Many Arizonians can still clearly remember last year's fatal sweat lodge incident that left three people dead and many more hospitalized on a retreat in Sedona, Arizona. Authorities from Yavapai County say that the sweat lodge, which was meant to provide people with a spiritual and cleansing experience, was not built properly and led people on a retreat to heat exposure and suffocation.

Self-help guru James Arthur Ray led the Arizona retreat of between 55 and 60 individuals in the sweat lodge. Associated Press reports that the man has since been charged with three counts of manslaughter and the man's defense attorneys are now asking that financial and business records, testimony from prior events and autopsy photographs be excluded as evidence in the criminal trial. Phoenix criminal attorney say that this supposed evidence is not relevant to the case and would only confuse members of the jury.

Sexual Assault Crimes Increase in Gilbert

The Arizona Republic reports that the town of Gilbert has seen a decrease in all areas of major crime this year, with the exception of sexual assault crimes. Overall violent crimes and property crimes have decreased this year by 21 percent from the period of January 2010 to May 2010, compared to this same period in 2009.

Sexual assault crimes, however, are worrisome to some Gilbert residents. The number of sexual assault crimes this year has almost doubled compared to last year's sexual assault crimes, with 15 incidents reported this year from January to May. Last year, the town of Gilbert saw only eight incidents of sexual assault during the first five months of 2009.

Derek Hunter and Another Teen Accused of Stealing From Apple Store

It looks like some teenagers will do anything to get their hands on a new iPhone, even if it means breaking the law.

The Associated Press reported that 18-year-old Derek Hunter and another 16-year-old boy, whose name is not being released to the public, have been accused of stealing products from an Apple Store in Gilbert. Authorities say that more than $9,000 worth of Apple products were stolen from the Apple Store at the SanTan Village mall in Gilbert on June 29, but that the items have since been recovered. Authorities arrested the two teenage suspects on suspicion of burglary earlier this week in connection with the incident.

Man Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter After Fatal Hit and Run

Many drivers may not realize how serious a fatal hit and run can be in Arizona. A recent criminal case shows the severity of hit and runs when there's a death involved with a hit and run.

The Arizona Republic reports that 24-year old Timothy Kissida, of Phoenix, was actually charged with manslaughter after he hit a bicyclist with his BMW last summer and fled the scene. Authorities were able to find the hit and run suspect after he tried to trade his car in through the government "cash for clunkers" program following the incident last August. When Timothy Kissida was asked about the damage to his vehicle, he replied that the damage to his front end was caused when he hit a javelina.

Darryl Harroun Offering Large Reward For Info About Burglary

Last Christmas Eve, Darryl Harroun was hit hard as the victim of a home burglary. ABC News reports that television sets, computers, and guns were among the many items that were stolen out of his home in the Arcadia neighborhood last Winter. The thieves reportedly took $30,000 worth of possessions from the home.

Yet Darryl Harroun is doing what most burglary victims can't afford to do -- offer a large reward for information. The man is now saying that he will give $5,000 to anybody who has information that can lead to the arrest and conviction of people who burglarized the property.

Phoenix PD Says Kids Might Be Responsible For String of Fires

Phoenix police officers arrested six children yesterday, who they believe could be responsible for a string of early morning fires in the north-central Phoenix area. The Arizona Republic reports that the children were linked to starting a fire at the vacant Pinewood Village Apartments, as well as starting fires that burned three cars, a carport and surrounding grass.

All of the fires reportedly ignited between 4:30 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. on Monday July 5. The suspects include 5 boys, ages 11 through 16 and one 13-year-old girl. While nobody was seriously injured in the blazes, authorities say that it took 120 firefighters to battle the fire at the empty apartment building. Eight apartment units were damaged.

SB1070 May Be Difficult to Enforce

Arizona's controversial immigration goes into effect at the end of this month, but many residents of the Grand Canyon state are wondering if the law will be fully enforced and if the law will really keep illegal immigrants out of this country.

As we stated in an earlier blog post, SB1070 officially makes it a misdemeanor crime to be an illegal immigrant in the state of Arizona. Any illegal immigrant that is caught in Arizona can be punished with a $2,500 fine and up to six months in jail. ABC News recently reported that the gathering of evidence in such cases can be very complex; hence Phoenix criminal lawyers are saying that it would be difficult to prosecute illegal immigrants for what is now considered a crime.

Man Accused of Trying To Stab Border Patrol Officer

Border Patrol officers might not be very popular among some Arizonians, but it's important to remember that these officers are considered federal officers, thus it's not a good idea to fight with them. The law imposes strict penalties for doing so.

Associated Press reports that an 18-year-old man from Wilcox almost stabbed a Customs and Border Protection officer  with a pocket knife last week in Douglas. The man was a U.S. citizen and was trying to re-enter the country from Mexico at the Douglas port-of-entry.

A man who was just trying to do the right thing is now facing serious criminal charges over an incident in which he posed as a police officer.

The Arizona Republic reports that 20-year-old Jameson White chased down a person who he believed assaulted a woman that walked into his business. Jameson White called police to the scene and ran after the alleged assaulter. The man was chased into an apartment near Rural Road and Lemon Street in Tempe. Jameson White reportedly entered the residence and pointed a gun at six people inside the apartment, including a 4-year-old child. The man allegedly introduced himself as a police officer when entering the residence, which is illegal.

Paul Nichta Sentenced For His Desert Divas Business

The man who ran the Paradise Valley business Desert Divas had a court date on Wednesday and was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison, along with seven years of probation and a $150,000 fine. The Arizona Republic reports that 34-year-old Paul Nichta first got into the legal mess when he was arrested in 2008 for operating a prostitution ring.

Yet Paul Nichta is not the only one at Desert Divas to face criminal charges. The company's accountant, for example, was sentenced to three years in prison last year. Records of the Maricopa County Attorney's Office state 93 people associated with the business are facing criminal charges and that 88 of those people have already pleaded guilty.

Driver Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison After Police Chase

A Scottsdale man who was trying to flee from Mesa police officers last year in his vehicle was recently convicted of unlawful flight from a law enforcement vehicle. However, the man faced even more serious criminal charges when police shot a 15-year-old passenger in a vehicle, which resulted in a death.