Crime Labs Come Under Fire Nationwide for Questionable Tactics

In the criminal justice system, there is a skewed – but high – incentive for forensic scientists to get a conviction, whether it is a valid one or not. Crime and forensic labs are being paid fees per conviction, creating a higher possibility of bias.

Crime labs conduct tests such as toxicology, fingerprint analysis, DNA evidence analysis, ballistics and hair microscopy. How confident would you be if you found out the lab conducting your toxicology test got paid only if you were convicted? Throughout the country, there have been thousands of falsely convicted individuals due to forensic lab mistakes, all to the benefit of the labs. Massachusetts Crime Lab Scandal

The Houston Police Department Crime Lab has been under investigation since 2002, for countless lab errors and faulty forensic testing. An estimated 16,000 rape kits were discovered to be untested in a property room of the facility, leaving thousands of innocent people falsely convicted and sent to prison.

In 2002, Lazaro Sotolusson, a prisoner at Las Vegas Detention Center was prosecuted for his cell mates’ crimes–sexual assault of two juveniles at gunpoint– when it was discovered that the DNA samples of the two were switched a year before.

Mistakes like these are, unfortunately, very common. Few crime lab workers and lab examiners are scientists, and many labs are affiliated with, or run by police departments– which put the desire for closed cases and secured convictions above all else.

In addition to the perverse incentive of getting paid, sadly, lab examiners have less of a reason to spend time on preventing someone’s conviction. Crime labs get paid to provide evidence of conviction, giving more reason for incompetent labs or faulty machines to be left unfixed, to corrupt prospective tests. Crime labs may also falsify, alter, neglect or simply lie about evidence and test results to get the conviction that will go straight into their pocketbook.

Many states have this flawed justice system incentive in place. In Carolina, you can be fined up to $600 just for lab processing fees upon conviction. Would you want to pay that if you were wrongfully found guilty?

No one wants to end up with a false conviction. To prevent any forensic malpractice, whether illicit or not, it is best to seek legal council from trustworthy and knowledgeable lawyers who know you and your case, and are dedicated to seeking the truth. From DUI’s, to photo radar cases, or felony charges, you need someone who can get you the fairest outcome possible and challenge any injustices that could come your way.

Scottsdale Law Firm Corso Law Group Believes in Providing the Best Possible Legal Representation, Clients Say

A strong passion for justice and dedication to defending the rights of their clients as well as an extensive knowledge of Arizona state and national laws have given Corso Law Group a competitive edge against other Arizona attorneys, and satisfied clients are sharing their positive experiences.

“Providing a personal touch is one of the rules we live by at Corso Law Group,” said founding partner Christopher P. Corso, Esq. “All of the positive reviews and positive feedback we receive bring us closer to our clients and allow us to continue to grow as a firm.

Several triumphant clients support Corso’s comments with positive reviews.

“I am very blessed to have walked into the law offices of Corso Law Group,” Alex L. said. “Mr. Rhude and his associates were only a call away, and they have been handling my cases ever since then. I currently live out of state, but Mr. Rhude always keeps me updated, follows up with me and…believes in me. I don’t know what I would do without their judgement and strict belief in justice.”

The criminal defense attorneys of Corso Law Group aggressively work to defend their clients, but they also take the time to get to know each individual to meet their specific legal needs.

Another Corso Law Group review amplifies this statement.

“They were easy to work with and did not hide anything,” Anthony S. of Scottsdale said. “They showed me how the case would typically proceed and made sure I was comfortable. My first time with a lawyer was easy. They make you feel at home. My case was dismissed, as they predicted. Try them, I recommend them all day long.”

The experienced attorneys at Corso Law Group are experts in criminal law, handling all criminal defense cases, including DUI defense, domestic violence defense, possession of drugs, felony drug charges, photo radar, criminal speeding, disorderly conduct and marijuana possession.

“Our goal is to make each client one who returns, and our commitment to them as individuals is reflected in the positive feedback they provide,” said John M. Rhude, Esq.

Corso Law Group also handles all types of Arizona family law cases, including Arizona divorce issues such as child custody, child support, alimony disputes, spousal support issues and visitation rights. And the Arizona lawyers are experts at Arizona personal injury and accident cases. From worker’s compensation claims to Arizona auto accidents, the personal injury lawyers at Corso Law Group continue to garner positive reviews for their attention to detail and their care and commitment.

The experienced attorneys at Corso Law Group serve clients throughout Arizona, including the cities of Ahwatukee, Avondale, Buckeye, Chandler, El Mirage, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sun City, Surprise, Tempe, Tolleson and Youngtown. To schedule a free consultation, please visit www.corsolawgroup.com or call (480) 471-4616. Corso Law Group, PLLC is located at 14500 N. Northsight Blvd., Suite 116 in Scottsdale, Arizona, 85260.

Cinco de Mayo in Arizona Can Mean the Threat of DUI Arrests

While Arizonans are busy celebrating Cinco de Mayo with festivities, food and drinks, Arizona’s police force will be on the lookout for revelers who choose to get behind the wheel and drive home after too many margaritas.

Last year, more than 1,200 police officers and deputies participated in the DUI Task Force during Cinco de Mayo weekend to ensure everyone was driving home safely, and sober. Of the 6,500 traffic stops that were conducted, 460 people were arrested for DUI, including 148 extreme DUIs.Corso Law Group Criminal Speeding in Arizona

These statistics demonstrate that Arizona DUI laws are not to be taken lightly. Arizona is one of the toughest states on DUIs. Penalties include mandatory jail time, license suspension and significant fines even for a first offense. Having an experienced Arizona DUI defense attorney on your side could make a huge difference in your case, according to the Scottsdale law firm Corso Law Group.

“Arizona DUI convictions could mean jail time for more than 10 days, a minimum fine of $1,250, installation of a certified ignition interlock device and more,” said Christopher Corso. “DUIs are not only dangerous but extremely expensive, which makes having an experienced DUI defense attorney imperative.”

Corso are former Maricopa County prosecutors with plenty of Arizona DUI expereince. Together, they have more than 15,000 DUI cases under their belt, making them an excellent choice when it comes to Arizona DUI defense.

Although every DUI case is different, and outcomes are dependent on the circumstances surrounding the charges, the Arizona DUI defense attorneys at Corso Law Group know how the system works and do everything to protect the rights of their clients.

“Our job is to protect our clients and their families,” Rhude said. “We do that through the aggressive defense of our clients, keeping their families informed throughout the process and working hard to obtain the best possible outcome.”

In addition to DUI defense, Corso Law Group handles all types of criminal defense cases, including domestic violence defense, possession of drugs, felony drug charges, photo radar, criminal speeding, disorderly conduct and marijuana possession.

The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Corso Law Group serve clients throughout Arizona, including the cities of Ahwatukee, Avondale, Buckeye, Chandler, El Mirage, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sun City, Surprise, Tempe, Tolleson and Youngtown.

To schedule a free consultation, please visit www.corsolawgroup.com or call (480) 471-4616. Corso Law Group, PLLC is located at 14500 N. Northsight Blvd., Suite 116 in Scottsdale, Arizona, 85260.

Marissa Alexander, Domestic Violence and the “Stand Your Ground” Defense

Imagine facing up to 60 years behind bars for protecting yourself during a domestic dispute incident.

That’s the legal predicament Marissa Alexander was convicted on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Jacksonville, Fla. in 2012.

Alexander fired a warning shot in the direction of her estranged husband and his two kids after she said they had been fighting and he threatened to kill her that day. The shots hit the wall and no injuries resulted from the gunfire.Marissa Alexander

She was sentenced to 20 years, three counts served concurrently adding up to 60 years in prison, but an appeals court tossed the conviction, claiming the judge made a mistake in shifting the burden to Alexander to prove she acted in self-defense. The jury found Alexander guilty in under 15 minutes of debate.

The same court that ordered a retrial appealed the 60 year sentencing and said that when a defendant is convicted of multiple counts of the same crime, judges must make the sentences consecutive, not concurrent, which would triple Alexander’s original 20 year conviction.

Others, such as Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei, disagree and argue that the court is simply following Florida’s state sentencing laws, and that 60 years is the proper sentencing.

The prosecutor for Alexander’s case is Angela Corey, the same prosecutor who has gained local and national infamy for her rulings on the George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn cases in Florida.

Corey initially offered Alexander a deal of three years in prison if she pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, but Alexander rejected the plea claiming she hadn’t done anything wrong.

Alexander was not eligible for Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” defense which is an NRA-backed law that provides protection to those seeking to claim self defense after legal altercations involving the use of firearms.

While several states have their own “Stand Your Ground” laws, this defense has become particularly controversial in Florida. The cases of George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn are being compared to Alexander’s because they all are based on the inconsistencies of this defense.

Zimmerman shot and killed 17 year old Trayvon Martin, who Zimmerman attacked because he found the teen to be suspicious while walking the streets of his neighborhood one evening,was able to use the Stand Your Ground defense in his case. Charges against him have been acquitted.

Similarly, Dunn fired multiple shots and killed 19 year old Jordan Davis for playing music too loudly in his SUV parked at a convenience store and, while he didn’t use the Stand Your Ground defense, Dunn claimed self defense in his case. He has been convicted on three counts of attempted murder and then some, but his exact sentencing has yet to be determined by Corey and the court and it’s estimated that he will spend only 60 years in prison, the same sentencing that Alexander currently faces.

Both of these men shot and killed innocent teens.

Alexander, on the other hand, did not kill or even injure anyone and has been denied protection from Stand Your Ground. She could spend the same amount of time in jail as Dunn while Zimmerman walks free.

Congresswoman Corrine Brown is one of many supporters who believe that 60 years is in no way the proper result for Alexander and are demanding that those in power, especially Corey, exercise their legal discretion with fairness and justice in Alexander’s case.

A group of Florida ministers also support Alexander’s case and have been trying to push Corey to offer Alexander the original three-year sentence once more.

Alexander posted $200,000 bail and has been released on strict house arrest including the use of an ankle location-monitoring device for the time being.

The retrial is scheduled for July 2014; however, Alexander’s attorney Bruce Zimet has been working toward another chance at proving that Alexander should be protected under the Stand Your Ground law, arguing that erroneous instructions regarding self defense were given to the jury originally.

Circuit Judge James Daniel announced a hearing will take place May 16 to determine if Alexander will be granted this protection. If she is protected by Stand Your Ground, immunity will be granted and a new trial will not follow, MSNBC reports.

Photo Enforcement Issues Continue to Infuriate Arizona Drivers

Since photo radar systems were first approved and made active in Arizona, the devices have been a source of controversy, with officials such as Governor Jan Brewer have been fighting to do away with photo radar for good.

Arizona drivers can rest assured on state highways where photo radar systems have been banned, but other busy streets and intersections are still considered photo radar traps by drivers.

The photo radar attorneys at Corso Law Group are experienced in specific Arizona traffic laws and tirelessly defend the rights of their clients by looking for the best remedy to each individual case.

Today, many are still outraged by the use of Redflex photo radar systems in the state. While cities like Surprise have eliminated photo radar systems, others continue to implement these devices.

El Mirage, a small city west of Phoenix known for its use of photo radar as a hefty source of the city’s revenue, has photo radar systems set up on several main roads including Primrose and Grand Avenue where a driver and his wife were ticketed by a photo radar system for speeding during what he claims was an escape from a dangerous road rage system.

You can read more more on this man’s case here.

Do you feel unfairly trapped by the state’s use of Redflex photo radar systems? If you’ve been ticketed by photo radar cameras in El Mirage, we can help.