September 21, 2017

Thomas Higgins was recently quoted in an Arizona Daily Star article that details the new tactics of Cartel gangs to recruit smugglers. 

The full article can be read at this link.

March 28, 2017

Although an appeal is, technically, post-conviction relief, I am focusing on what rights a defendant has after a conviction outside of an appeal.  Even if an appeal is “affirmed”, there is another method to review what happened in court and it is known by different names but generally, “Post-Conviction Relief”.  Criminal Rules are found in every state and in Arizona the post-conviction relief is known more commonly by its rule name - Rule 32.  This blog only refers to state post-conviction proceedings, the federal proceedings will be covered in a different summary.

If you are convicted it will be by a plea agreement or at the end of a trial up...

February 3, 2017

 The United States has been in a wave of “victimization” since the late 1980's.  Many, many states and the federal government have codified the rights of victims, in what are usually called Victim’s Rights Bills”.  Arizona is one of those states.  It seems that society as a whole has become wrapped up in being a victim.  One only has to look at the skyrocketing rates of disability claims, the rise of post traumatic stress disorder diagnoses (PTSD), the legislatures that have jumped on the bandwagon to protect so-called victims and even the growth of people using “service dogs” to see how politically correct it has become to be a victim of something....

December 30, 2016

 Despite the slow erosion of individual rights in the courts, the way open to attacking drug cases revolve around pretrial motions. I only pick a few for argument’s sake but any defense attorney worth his briefcase will have many, many more avenues of attack. But I will comment here on a so-called “typical” case. Let’s say we have a vehicle stop, search, two occupants and a discovery of 200 pounds of marijuana in the trunk. In some jurisdictions this is a huge amount, in Arizona, not so much. I did a case in Illinois once involving 3000 pounds of marijuana and the judge said “Mr. Higgins, I imagine being from Arizona means that this case is not much of...

December 1, 2016

So, you are charged with a crime in the United States.  Too bad, too bad for you.  Hopefully you are not taken in by the grand and wonderful concepts like “Rights of the Individual” or, worse,  “I know my rights”.  Maybe you think that the courts are there to protect those rights.  Maybe you think that the fact that you are innocent or any wrongdoing will make a difference.  Please disabuse yourself of all that. 

The United States has 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prisoners.  The United States now has more people in custody now than the Soviet Union, at its height, and Communist China, combined.  So mu...

November 22, 2016

Many years ago, novelist Kurt Vonnegut published a series of short stories entitled “The Sirens of Titan” (1959).  My favorite story was about the Prison Planet.  I am remembering from about forty years ago but, basically, a space traveler (Malachi Constant) and his dog land on the prison planet and are promptly arrested when the hero gives his dog some beer to drink.  At the time he landed there one third of the planet was in prison, one third was administering the prison population and one third were the remaining citizens.  At his trial, his defense attorney was arrested and Malachi was convicted.  While on appeal, the Supreme Court was arrested and...

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