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April 2011 Archives

Jared Loughner Undergos Mental Competency Exams

Tucson shooting suspect Jared Loughner is now back in the Grand Canyon state after spending five weeks at a federal medical facility in Springfield, Missouri. According to the Associated Press, Loughner went through two mental competency exams, which will determine whether the defendant understands the consequences of his criminal charges, can assist with his own defense, and if he is overall mentally competent to stand trial.

Loughner has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges that stem from the January 8 attack that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including state representative Gabrielle Giffords. He can face the death penalty if found guilty of the murder charges.

Inmate Attacks Detention Officer So That He Can Stay in Jail

A man proved that staying locked up behind bars is easy to do when the right kind of action is taken. Reuters reported that 26-year-old Alexandro Guerrero was about to be released from a Pinal County jail on April 17, but later decided that he would like to stay in the detention center for his own safety because he feared that he would be killed by a Mexican drug cartel.

Guerrero reportedly told officers that he had sold drugs in Yuma and that he believed drug traffickers planned to kill him upon his release from custody. So, Guerrero decided to throw a punch at a detention officer when he was waiting in the booking area to be released.

More Arrests At Arizona-Mexico Border Coming Soon?

President Barack Obama sent 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border last year for a one-year period to boost border security, but some officials of the Grand Canyon state say that this isn't quite enough. The Arizona Republic reports that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer recently asked the president to extend the National Guard's stay at the Arizona border with Mexico instead of ending the scheduled deployment in two months.

While the National Guard's border mission is scheduled to conclude at the end of June, Brewer and others are concerned that the gains made at the border will be lost once the deployment ends in the state. Hence, Brewer is pushing for the troops at the Arizona border to stay.

Lawrence Egbert of Final Exit Network Acquitted of Manslaughter

If you assist somebody with their suicide, then should you be held legally responsible for their death? This is a tough question that Maricopa County jurors had to consider this week in the trial of Dr. Lawrence Egbert.

AZ Family reports that Egbert was charged with manslaughter after allegedly helping Jana Van Voorhis of Phoenix kill herself in 2007. Prosecutors say that the doctor brought helium gas tanks and a plastic suffocation hood to Van Voorhis and told her how to use the setup to take her own life. Police say that once Van Voorhis died, other people working with Egbert took the helium tanks and hood to throw them away.

Colt Revolver to Become the Official State Gun of Arizona

You know that a state must really value the right to bear arms when its legislature is having arguments on what the official state gun should be. After a debate that drew fire between lawmakers, Reuters reports that the Arizona House agreed on Wednesday to make the Colt Single Action Army Revolver the state's official firearm.

Arizona residents may soon be able to take on a little bit more state pride when carrying this specific type of firearm. The bill now goes to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's desk, where she'll have the final say on whether the Colt revolver will become an official symbol of the state.

Suspect Arrested After Shooting at Delta Chi Fraternity House

A man, apparently angry about an incident that involved the sale of illegal drugs, is now facing some legal trouble after allegedly firing bullets at a Delta Chi fraternity house. Yet the suspect Oronde K. Lowery didn't act alone in this case and as of Friday, as ABC News reported that authorities were still searching for somebody else who was allegedly involved in the drive-by shooting.

Last week, Lowery was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault. The crime of aggravated assault in Arizona is defined broadly, but often involves a person committing the crime of assault while using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.

Fulton, Susan Brock Discuss a Governor's Pardon in Sex Abuse Case

Maricopa County Supervisor Fulton Brock apparently had an interesting phone conversation with his wife Susan Brock, who is now in jail for attempted sexual conduct with a minor. According to The Arizona Republic, a recording of the phone call revealed that the two were discussing whether Susan Brock would be able to get a pardon in her case from Governor Jan Brewer.

Fulton Brock admitted that the topic of pardons has come up between him and his wife and that Brewer has a "soft place in her heart" for behavioral health problems. He said that he has not yet talked with Brewer about his wife's criminal case, but has stated that his wife has some needs related to behavior and health that are not able to be met in prison.

Ninth Circuit Court Finds Aspects of SB 1070 Unconstitutional

Immigration activists now have something new to cheer about. The Tucson Sentinel reports that a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that there is sufficient evidence to believe that certain provisions of the controversial Arizona immigration law, SB 1070, are unconstitutional. Furthermore, the federal appeals court ruled that Arizona's lower court "did not abuse its discretion" when blocking provisions of SB 1070 from going into effect last year.

The Grand Canyon state was at the center of attention with the debate over immigration last year when the state's legislature passed the senate bill SB 1070 that was supposed to allow for police to arrest and detain suspected illegal immigrants without a warrant.

Joshua Pearce Jailed For Probation Violation

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Joshua Pearce, son of Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, has had multiple run-ins with Mesa police officers. Yet the 30-year-old Mesa resident has only had one criminal conviction and was sentenced to probation.

This, however, doesn’t mean that the politician’s son is getting off easy for the conviction. The Phoenix New Times reported that Pearce pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI in 2007 and that this offense is still coming back to haunt him.

Attorney Daniel Gukeisen Convicted of Manslaughter

Daniel Gukeisen, a Phoenix bankruptcy attorney, was found guilty of manslaughter in Maricopa County Superior Court yesterday after a lengthy trial involving a Tempe stabbing. While Gukeisen's criminal defense lawyer may decide to file for an appeal, he still must face sentencing for the crime.

Gukeisen, 39, was accused of fatally stabbing an Arizona State University student in September 2008, The Rapid City Journal reports. But there was some controversy surrounding the evidence as lawyers argued that state and county crime-lab findings should not necessarily be considered the final authority on the evidence.

Boyfriend Charged With Murder in Jamie Laiaddee Disappearance

Rick Valentini has been indicted for second-degree murder in Maricopa County and has been accused of killing Jamie Laiaddee, but authorities haven’t been able to recover a corpse after the victim’s disappearance. Defense attorneys might even say that there’s reasonable doubt that Laiaddee is wask killed.

The Arizona Republic reports that Laiaddee was last seen on March 17, 2010 and that she was reported to be missing last May by family members. Since that date, she has made no phone calls, sent no texts, sent no emails, and has made no bank transactions.

Susan Brock Faces Up to 15 Years in Prison for Sex With a Minor

Susan Brock, wife of Maricopa County Supervisor Fulton Brock, shocked the community earlier this year after allegations came about that she tried to perform sexual acts with a 14-year-old boy. The Arizona Republic reported that this criminal case is almost over, as Brock is scheduled to be sentenced this week.

Through a plea deal, 49-year-old Brock pleaded guilty to one count of attempted sexual conduct with a minor and reportedly had 12 of the 15 child-abuse counts against her dismissed. The defendant now faces a presumptive sentence of 10 years behind bars, but she could be sentenced to anywhere from seven to 15 years for the offense.

Diane Habener Plans to Appeal Animal Cruelty Conviction

A Maricopa judge found a Phoenix animal-rescue operator guilty of nine counts of animal cruelty this week, but the defendant, Diane Habener, has stated that she plans to appeal the verdict. The Arizona Republic reports that the 63-year-old woman was first charged with hundreds of misdemeanor crimes for neglecting the 96 dogs and 16 cats that she rescued from Valley shelters.

Prosecutors eventually dropped all but 16 misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty and a Superior Court judge found that Habener was guilty of just nine counts. Habener is scheduled to be sentenced later this month and faces up to six months of jail time for the conviction. The Phoenix woman is also facing penalties that include three months of probation and a $2,500 fine.