When is a Lawyer not a Lawyer?

We’ve written before about how bad defense lawyers are responsible for as many wrongful convictions as anything else (see the section on “bad lawyers” in Why I Think the US Justice System is Broken – and Why It’s Not Getting Fixed).  But what about on the prosecution side?  The thought of legally unqualified prosecution attorneys – and this includes staff – is scary.

So this brings us to the question – when is a lawyer not a lawyer?  Apparently, the answer may be – when they practice in Arizona.  Get this — it’s actually not illegal to practice law in Arizona without a license.

Karyl Krug is a highly regarded Texas attorney who was transplanted to Arizona.  What she encountered in the Arizona legal system was cause for profound dismay.  She tells her own story here.

2 responses to “When is a Lawyer not a Lawyer?

  1. Mr. Locke, Excellent post and courageous article by Karyl Krug.

    So how many innocent inmates have been fighting their wrongful convictions and wrongful imprisonment in Arizona since 2003 to present, who have been languishing in the courts for years — with the lid slammed shut on them?

    How can a defendant facing serious felony charges and a defacto life sentence in Arizona, have an inexperienced “green” prosecutors showing up at the IA hearing that results in holding the defendant NON-bondable? Without a defense attorney present, a commissioner and a “green” prosecutor take the lying words of a detective to hold the fate of this individual in their hands? Then the “:green” prosecutor is cast aside and a “high-profile” prosecutor assigned to the case?

    This second prosecutor, a former assistant attorney general is tossed aside and replaced on the eve of the trial by a third prosecutor, who is new to the case and opens up at trial not even knowing the case, the time of year and “leading” the teen witness? This unconscionable, inept, start-up raises questions about misconduct among all parties involved? This “strategy” or misconduct leads to an “easy” conviction, where on the closing day of a trial marked by disrespect and lack of decorum in the courtroom for a defendant who was facing a defacto life sentence — the Bench trial judge states he will take a 15 minute break to make his decision? And this is fair justice for an individual facing a defacto life sentence in Arizona? A human being, a loving parent of a young child, being processed faster than a parking ticket? Observers thought the defense lawyer, who came unprepared to trial was like having a third prosecutor in the courtroom. This formula, pattern or ineptness that has destroyed many lives, demands outside independent investigation. Who has the integrity and the courage to right the wrongs?

    The current prosecutors have been ignoring the innocent who were wrongful convicted, given draconian sentences (where inmates are silenced for years in Arizona) —— under disgraced and disbarred ex-Maricopa County Andrew Thomas and his chief “charging” prosecutor, ex-DCA Lisa Aubuchon, also disbarred, and Thomas’ “internet blogging queen” (blogging for “easy” convictions) ex-DCA Rachel Alexander, sanctioned. These over 200,000 felony cases in one term in office (2005-2010) have been swept under the rug. This raises questions about prosecutorial misconduct when new evidence – proof of innocence and exculpatory evidence has been given to them years ago and over the years as it has emerged.

    Bar complaints were filed and ignored.

    There was NO “gatekeeper” in the prosecutors offices during this period of time. The Bar remained mute. As prosecutors “disappeared”, we were told by the Bar, the ‘high-profile” prosecutor was summarily dismissed. We asked why? Bar’s answer: because they didn’t pay their dues. Really? When asked for the complaints against the defense attorney, there was a chuckle because the “top criminal specialist” defense lawyer had so many complaints. We were told to wait, it would take a long time to get the files. Agreed to wait. There was a pattern of the same ineffective assistance of counsel. Get the obscene fee upfront, then do nothing and go on to the next new prospect. Prospects being told if they didn’t hurry up and make-up their minds and send a certified check for the full amount, they would have to move on to other clients. Hundreds or thousands of cases handled in the same manner. That major law firm with it top “criminal specialist” was taken before the Arizona Supreme Court, reprimanded and the law firm criminal justice division shut down.

    Who’s investigating those cases that this “mega” law firm handled, where hundreds / thousands were sent to prison? How many are innocent and wrongfully convicted? Where’s the follow-up by the Bar of “righting the wrongs” in the cases handled by disbarred, sanctioned law firms / attorneys? Especially, those who represented themselves at the top of the heap of Arizona lawyers?

    Where’s the outside independent investigation of the “ordinary” people who are innocent but prosecuted during the Presidential election year witch-hunts of the day, convicted and sentenced after the election? Meanwhile, the lawyers / prosecutors who made a name for themselves during this period, moved on and up to higher positions, won special awards for their “high-profile” convictions, became governor appointed judges.

    We all know there are many innocent people who have been wrongfully convicted. The Exoneration Registry is the tip of the iceberg. There’s an established pattern of misconduct by the police and the prosecutors, where these cases get started, that never should have been. Once they they throw their version into the media, its over.

    It’s long overdue, and reaching critical points in many families’ lives. Many are languishing in the courts, hidden from view, as these politicians move on an up without a conscience or a soul. Enough has been written and exposed for how Arizona’s justice system operates. And now we have Karyl Krug’s courageous article.

    Karyl Krug has flung open the door. She is one of many, who dared to speak out, which is what she was mandated to do, and got severely punished for it. She is one of many professionals, who this has happened to in Arizona. As the state cries out for nurses, they fire them if they dare speak out. The list goes on…

    It’s time to free the innocent in Arizona, who were convicted and sentenced under the disbarred ex-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and his chief “charging” prosecutor, ex-DCA Lisa Aubuchon, who we believe carried on a long established way of SOP, as decades old cases are emerging of Debra Milke, Bill Macumber, Louis Taylor, the third trial for the Temple murders — endless, legal battles wasting taxpayers dollars to “protect” the long tradition of injustice, cruelty and inhumanity — found in a “punitive” culture of revenge and hatred.

  2. Would you please send me Phil Locke’s email and any other emails I could write to for help on a Wrongful Conviction. I watched the documentary last night on Micheal Morton and so many things are similar! Thank you for your help! Ruthe Wille

    Sent from my iPhone


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