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March 2011 Archives

Jan Brewer Signs HB 2443, Performing Certain Abortions Now a Crime

House Bill 2443, the bill to ban abortions that are based on the race or gender of the fetus, made its way through the Legislature and into Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's hands this week. To no surprise, Brewer signed the bill and officially gave approval of criminalizing certain abortions.

ABC News reported that the stated purpose of the new law is to protect mothers from getting an abortion based on their preference for a different race or gender of their baby. Yet opponents of the law say that there is no evidence of abortions being performed in the state that are based on the gender or race of the fetus.

Arizona Finalizes Medical Marijuana Laws

Since Arizona voters passed Proposition 203 last November to legalize medical marijuana, there's been a great deal of controversy over how the drug should be distributed to patients and over how a person should qualify to be a medical marijuana patient. ABC News reports that Arizona's final set of rules on medical marijuana were released Monday morning by the state's Department of Health Services.

The rules, which are listed in a 92-page document on the department's website, are the result of months of research on other U.S. states that have similar laws on medical marijuana.

Julian Titcomb Charged With Sexual Conduct With a Minor

If you're engaging in illegal behavior, it's best to not talk about it on Facebook -- even in a private message. After a mother and father found out their 14-year-old daughter was having inappropriate conversations on Facebook with a 21-year-old man, they called authorities to investigate the relationship.

The Phoenix New Times reported that the older man in the conversation was identified as Julian Titcomb, who used to work as a volunteer basketball coach at a Valley elementary school. The suspect has been charged with eight counts of sexual conduct with a minor and has been accused of having sex with the teenage girl.

Peoria Police Searching For Beer Theft Suspect Eric Papanek

Don't get in the way of a grown man and his beer. This is a lesson that a 21-year-old good Samaritan may have learned last week when he tried to stop a thief from stealing two 18-packs of Heineken beer from a gas station. The Arizona Republic reports that the beer thief allegedly stabbed the 21-year-old in the abdomen when he was being challenged, and then was able to successfully exit the store with a case of beer in one hand and a knife in the other.

The Peoria Police Department has identified the suspect in this case as Eric Matthew Papanek of Glendale. Authorities are still on the lookout for the man and are asking for the public's help in locating the suspect, who is reportedly white, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 180 pounds. Police say that Papanek is 29 years of age and drives a red Ford Mustang.

Thanks to Roe v. Wade, women have the right to choose the option of abortion if they wish to terminate a pregnancy. However, some lawmakers in Arizona are trying to put limits on the types of abortions that can be performed in the state. House Bill 2443 seeks to make it a crime for a person to knowingly perform an abortion with the knowledge that the abortion is sought based on the sex or race of the child.

The Phoenix New Times reports that if HB 2443 passes into a law, performing an abortion based on race or gender will become a class-three felony in the state. This means that physicians can face a multiple-year prison sentence for the offense. Medical professionals who do not report known violations of the offense would also be subjected to civil fine of up to $10,000.

Phoenix Police Investigating Otis Magee For Sexual Abuse

A substitute teacher in Phoenix is facing sexual abuse and assault charges after a few teenage girls reported to police officers that the teacher had engaged in inappropriate behavior. The Arizona Republic reports that Otis Magee, who used to work as a sub at Pinnacle High School, was arrested this week on suspicion of assault, sexual abuse, and kidnapping, stemming from incidents that occurred in 2008 and then again in December 2010.

The most recent sexual abuse incident involving Magee occurred last December when a 15-year-old girl accused him of improper touching. Magee was apparently a family friend of the girl and he was giving her a ride to a fast-food restaurant when he allegedly touched her inappropriately over her clothes while she was in the passenger seat. The girl then allegedly tried to get out of the car, but Magee allegedly restrained her by grabbing the teenager’s shorts.

Luis Cross-Ramirez Pleads Guilty in 2004 Murder of Julio Daniel

The man suspected of killing Pueblo High School junior Julio Cesar Daniel in December 2004, pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge in Pima County Superior Court on Wednesday. According to Arizona Daily Star, the defendant Luis Said Coss-Ramirez now faces between 10 and 22 years in prison for the offense.

Cross-Ramirez was not arrested until nearly five years after Daniel was found dead on South Valley Indian Agency Road in Tucson. An autopsy reportedly showed that the victim in this case was shot and then ran over with a vehicle. The arrest came after Cross-Ramirez apparently told investigators that he had accidentally shot the 16-year-old boy. Criminal defense lawyers tried to argue that the defendant falsely confessed to the shooting and that he was in another vehicle when he heard Daniel being shot.

A vampire enthusiast was sentenced for aggravated assault this week after stabbing a friend who wouldn't allow the vampire-crazed man to suck his blood. Many criminal defense lawyers might say that the 24-year-old defendant in this case, Aaron Homer, is getting off easy because he won't be serving any time in jail for the conviction.

The Tucson Citizen reports that Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville sentenced Homer to just three years of probation for the stabbing. The victim Robert Maley said that he had let Homer drink his blood once before, but that he refused to allow any blood sucking on the night that he was attacked.

Is Tucson Shooting Suspect Jared Loughner Competent to Stand Trial

Mass shooting suspect Jared Loughner stood before a federal judge on Wednesday in a Tucson courtroom to hear the 49 criminal counts that he faces in connection with the January 8 Tucson shooting. According to The Los Angeles Times, the judge entered a not-guilty plea in court on the defendant’s behalf at the request of defense attorneys.

The 49 criminal charges include counts of murder and attempted murder, but now questions are starting to arise in the competency of Loughner to stand trial. Apparently, Loughner had believed that the FBI was bugging him before the shooting. Prosecutors said that Loughner had extreme animosity toward the government and that he was even hearing voices.

Number of Illegal Immigrants in Maricopa County Jails Drop

It looks like suspected illegal immigrants in Arizona are no longer filling up Maricopa County jails at the rates that they once were at a few years ago. ABC News reports that there were about 16,000 suspected illegal immigrants in the county jails in 2008, but that in 2010 this number fell below 10,000 inmates.

What are the reasons for this decline? Alessandra Soler Meetze, Executive Director of the ACLU office in Phoenix, said through ABC News that one explanation for this trend could be due to the general decrease in Maricopa County inmates. The average number of inmates in Maricopa Custody fell by 13 percent from 2008 to 2010.

Robert Conley Charged With Murder After Attacking His Mother

It might not be a good idea to ever come between a man and his alcohol. Robert Conley, 31, was drinking a bottle of Southern Comfort whiskey in his mother's Phoenix apartment last week, but a fight broke out once the mother tried to take away her son's drink.

According to the Phoenix New Times, Conley was so angry when he saw his mom dumping out what was left in his whiskey bottle that he allegedly punched her in the face and choked her until she passed out. Police say that Conley did all of these violent acts while yelling the words, "I'm going to kill you."

New Door-to-Door Solicitation Rules Approved in Phoenix

If you’re a door-to-door salesman in Phoenix, it’s important to be aware of the city’s new restrictions when it comes to solicitation. Due to safety concerns from the community, the Phoenix City Council passed a new law that sets certain rules for solicitors. The Arizona Republic reports that violators of the law can be charged with a misdemeanor.

An individual convicted of the violation can be sentenced up to six months in jail and ordered to pay a fine up to $2,500. A business convicted of the solicitation violation can reportedly face fines as high as $25,000. The following rules now apply in Phoenix:

Alvaro Holguin-Duarte Sentenced to Life in Prison For Murder

A man from Avondale who pleaded guilty to murdering his girlfriend’s daughter in 2008 was sentenced to natural life in prison this week in Maricopa County Superior Court, according to The Phoenix New Times. The defendant Alvaro Holguin-Duarte would have apparently faced the death penalty had he not accepted the plea deal for life in prison.

The victim in this case was a 3-year-old girl named Alisandra Oliviana Romero. Duarte told paramedics that he slapped the girl when she had soiled herself, but one of the victim’s siblings told police that he had seen much more extreme acts and that he actually watched Duarte stomp on the girl’s chest at one point. The abusive incident reportedly occurred on November 17, 2008, when Duarte was babysitting for his girlfriend’s six children while the mother was at work.

John Kromko Sentenced to Probation in Forgery Case

Perhaps former representative John Kromko should have never been able to run for office in the 2008 election. The man who once served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1976 to 1990 admitted that he forged 29 names on a petition that may have qualified him to run for the House seat in 2008. Now at the age of 70, The Arizona Daily Star reports that Kromko will not be able to run for public office for at least five years because of the plea agreement that was made in the case.

Kromko initially faced several felony charges over the incident, which included identity theft, forgery and fraud. Yet a plea agreement allowed the politician to plead guilty to just one misdemeanor count of forgery and one felony count of fraud. The fraud conviction will be knocked down to a misdemeanor conviction upon the completion of probation.