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January 2011 Archives

Rafael Bueno Ochoa Arrested After Domestic Violence Incident

Twenty-two-year old Rafael Bueno Ochoa was arrested last week in Prescott Valley after allegedly punching his girlfriend and biting into her arm. ABC News reported that the victim claimed that she tried to defend herself but that her boyfriend bit her and may have possibly removed a portion of her finger with his teeth.

Prescott Valley police officers say that the victim contacted a domestic violence shelter the day after the incident and reported the altercation to the Prescott Valley police department. The suspect, Ochoa, denies any involvement with the alleged assault, but admitted to "wrestling" with the victim to explain injuries that his girlfriend had on her lip and body.

Federal Courts Declare State of Emergency in Arizona

Federal court officials in Arizona declared a one-year state of emergency this week due to the slaying of Chief District Judge John Roll. ABA Journal reports that the state of emergency will allow criminal courts to delay trials due to a shortage of judges, lack of adequate resources, and a heavy criminal caseload.

This is a rare tactic among the courts. The last state of emergency was reportedly used in the Southern District of New York following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. In the 9th Circuit, a judicial emergency has only been declared twice since the 1974 Speedy Trial Act. The emergency declaration will likely delay many criminal trials in the state, including the trial of Tucson shooting suspect Jared Loughner.

Jared Loughner Pleads Not Guilty to Murder Charges in Phoenix

The man accused of killing six people and injuring 18 others in Tucson, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder Monday in Sandra Day O’Connor United States Courthouse. According to ABC News, more criminal charges are likely to be added to the three count attempted murder indictment at a later date, once the investigation of the Tucson shooting is complete.

The suspect, Jared Loughner, reportedly faces the death penalty if he is convicted of murder charges. Prosecutors filed a motion to have future court proceedings take place in Tucson rather than at th courthouse in Phoenix. This is because the vast majority of witnesses reside or work in Pima County and it would be difficult for them to attend proceedings at an alternative location.

The Current Gun Laws in Arizona

Since the Tucson shooting, some lawmakers have pushed for stricter gun control laws. The Huffington Post reported that Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill into a law last year that that allowed people to carry a concealed weapon without a permit in Arizona. People that are 21 years of age or older can now forego background checks and classes that were once required to carry a concealed weapon.

Many adults carry a gun openly in Arizona under the law. Reportedly, most Americans don’t believe tighter gun control laws in Arizona or elsewhere should come about even after the shooting in Tucson that left six people dead and another 13 wounded.

Hilyard Scott Indicted For Attack on Frank Pratt

The man that allegedly attacked Arizona legislator Frank Pratt is now in trouble with the law, as he has been indicted on several criminal charges. According to KTAR, the suspect, Hilyard Scott, has been in jail since his January 5 arrest and is currently being held on $100,000 bond.

Scott now faces charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary and theft in the Pratt case. His arraignment is scheduled for Friday January 21. The man is also apparently facing additional criminal charges for similar attacks that occurred during separate incidents.

New Arizona Law Blocks Westboro Baptist Church Protesters

State lawmakers passed emergency legislation on Tuesday to stop protesters with Westboro Baptist Church from picketing near the funerals of the Tucson shooting victims. ABC News reports that the new law is similar to what 40 states have already adopted. The law requires protesters to be at least 300 feet away from the funeral from an hour before the funeral starts, to an hour after it ends, so that mourners can grieve in peace.

Jared Loughner Has Preliminary Hearing Scheduled For January 24

People across the state of Arizona might feel a little bit more at ease knowing that the man accused of trying to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is being held in jail without bail. ABC News reported that the suspect, Jared Loughner, was at the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse in Phoenix yesterday, where his preliminary hearing was scheduled for January 24.

Loughner now faces federal criminal charges that include one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the federal government and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee. The Pima County Sheriff's Office said that the suspect will also face state charges at a later date.

Phoenix Fire Department Has Highest Arson Clearance Rate in U.S

If you decide to commit arson in the Phoenix metro area, you’ll most likely get caught in some way or another by authorities in the state. According to ABC News, the Phoenix Fire Department finished the year 2010 with the highest arson clearance rate in the country. The Phoenix Fire Department investigators reportedly cleared about 64 percent of arson cases in the local area, which is more than three times the national average of an 18 percent clearance rate.

Adam Hernandez Faces 14 Felonies After Chandler Mall Shooting

The 27-year-old man that allegedly shot at police officers and held two people hostage at the Chandler Fashion Center on January 5, is now being charged with 14 felonies that include two counts of attempted murder, three counts of kidnapping, armed robbery, six counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, vehicle theft and prohibited possessor of a weapon. USAToday reports that the suspect Adam Hernandez had his bail set to a $1 million bond by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge yesterday.

Police Suspect Hilyard Scott Involved in Frank Pratt Beating

Arizona Representative Frank Pratt says that he was beaten, tied up, and robbed on Christmas Day by a man that broke into his Casa Grande swimming pool business. Many community members were surprised by the beating of the state lawmaker, but detectives now say that they have identified a "person of interest" that could possibly be tied to the incident.

The Arizona Republic reported that Casa Grande police arrested 34-year-old Hilyard Bardney Scott on an unrelated warrant for a beating that occurred on December 23. Casa Grande Deputy Chief Don Daniel said that there are some characteristics in the December 23 assault case that were similar to the Frank Pratt case.

Three People Arrested Under Shannon's Law on New Year's

When celebrating the new year, 4th of July, or any other holiday, it’s illegal in Arizona to randomly fire a bullet in the air as a form of celebration. The Phoenix Police Department warned city residents last week that the unlawful discharge of firearms on New Year’s Eve would result with a felony charge under Shannon’s Law, but the Phoenix New Times reports that at least three people were arrested on suspicion of violating the law, despite the warnings from the police department.

Shannon’s Law was reportedly enacted in 2000 after 14-year-old Shannon Smith died on New Year’s Eve in 1999 from a stray bullet that hit her while she was standing in her backyard, which was located in an urban area.