Unionizing Phoenix’s Strippers

Tags

, , , , ,

You don’t have to watch the latest Franklin and Bash episode to know that strippers sometimes get a raw deal in society.  I can’t stop to help thinking that maybe if strippers unionized it would help cure some societal ills strippers face in employment, but it could also help the community as well.

What would it be like if the strippers in Phoenix unionized?  Hhhmmmmm.

I have been playing around with this idea for a while, long before I saw the Franklin and Bash try to unionize all the exotic dancers of Los Angeles, Season 4, Episode 6.  Seriously, if all the strippers in the city of Phoenix had a union to ensure they earned at least minimum wage, discrimination is kept in check (pregnancy discrimination comes to mind), and would be protected by the National Labor Relations Board in case they wanted to strike or picket (which would be interesting) —  it could help cure a lot of problems.

*** This article is not based off of any strip club in Phoenix and is just a generalization from what I have read about in the industry.  I do not know how any of the strip clubs in Phoenix are run, I only know the applicable laws governing employment.

Gorgeous Librarians

– Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk, Flickr

Continue reading

Article: Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions – Employment in Arizona

Tags

,

One of the consequences of a criminal conviction is difficulty in gaining employment the debt to society has been repaid. It is a referred to as a collateral consequence because it is not a part of the intended punishment – is a secondary effect.

A civil rights movement, known as ‘ban the box’ aims at persuading employers to remove from their hiring applications the check box that asks if applicants have a criminal record.  This article deals with the state of Arizona asking applicants if they have a prior criminal record.

Arizona law states a person shall not be removed from employment consideration by the state, unless the “offense has a reasonable relationship to the functions of the employment or occupation for which the license, permit or certificate is sought.”  Ariz. Rev. Stat. §904(E).  Deciding what offense bears a reasonable relationship to the employment is not always clear, and leaves substantial discretion to the hiring agency.

The author of the article makes the point that since so many professions require state certification, licensing, or a permit to operate, this statute touches many industries in Arizona.

Collateral consequences are hidden sanctions through federal, state and local statutes, regulations and policies that affect the rights and responsibilities of rehabilitated persons after the penalty of a criminal conviction has been completed. Collateral consequences place a continuing burden on individuals seeking a fresh start in life thereby making relief from the consequences more elusive.

Penny Wilrich, Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions – Employment in Arizona, SSRN Elibrary.

 

Arizona Proposes Hotels Background Checks for Employees

Tags

,

Arizona hotels have come under fire for potential negligent hiring of employees of who have unfettered access to rooms.  During the last two years a couple of hotels in Maricopa County have hired employees who were convicted felons, gave them access to hotel rooms, and allegedly the former employees sexually assaulted guests.

Now, a few state lawmakers are looking into whether background checks should be required for certain employees who work at hotels.

Continue reading

Phoenix Apartment Complex Found Guilty of Uninhabitable Conditions

Tags

, , , ,

A Phoenix apartmment complex is found of uninhabitable by a city court judge.

After a non-jury trial, Judge Lori Metcalf, of the Phoenix Municipal Court found Woodbridge Apartments guilty of 385 out of 406 criminal counts.  That is a 94.8% guilty rate.  Sentencing is scheduled for September 19, 2014. Woodbridge Apartments are located at 6635 North 19th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona.

Deputy Director of the Phoenix Department of Neighborhoods Tim Boling told ABC 15 News, “this case is probably the most extreme resistance that he has encountered in the city’s efforts to bring a property into compliance.”

This case surpasses the normal landlord-tenant issues moving into issues of basic civil rights.  No one should have to live in squalor.  It took a couple of years, but props to the City of Phoenix prosecutors for pursuing this case.

I haven’t found the legal documents anywhere else on the internet.  I thought I would share them since this is appears to be an extraordinary case for the City of Phoenix.  See the criminal findings by Judge Metcalf below.  Also, the entire civil complaints against Woodbridge Apartments from 2012 are also provided below.

Woodbridge Apartments - Phoenix, Arizona

Woodbridge Apartments – Phoenix, Arizona – Photo taken by AzCommonLaw

Continue reading

Article – Free Speech and Guilty Minds

Tags

, ,

The United States Supreme Court is poised to decide whether the true threats exception to speech protection under the First Amendment requires a jury to find the defendant subjectively intended his statements to be understood as threats.  United States v. Elonis, 730 F.3d 321 (3rd Cir. 2013).

True threats what?  Yep.  In First Amendment theory, when an individual makes an objectively true treat, courts will look to the First Amendment to see whether that speech is protected or not by examining the subjective intent.  Since a threat is generally a violation of criminal law, a person may say, “look, I was only joking.  The First Amendment protects my right to make jokes without government punishment.” The person’s intent was to make a joke, not to make a threat.  That is how subjective intent can be the deciding factor whether a threat is protected by the First Amendment or not.

The United States Supreme Court determined in Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343 (2003) “true threats” are not protected by the First Amendment.  “True threats encompass those statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.” Id. at 359 (internal quotations omitted).

Arizona has had a few of its own true threat cases that have gone before state appellate courts.  In fact, there is a case currently in Maricopa County Superior Court dealing with a similar fact pattern to the Elonis case.  I wrote earlier about a New York man who threatened Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell via twitter while they covered the Jodi Arias trial.  I am not sure if the true threats doctrine is being used in this case or not, but it could potentially based upon the media’s fact patterns.

This is a really good article that goes into depth in this hot topic.  It discusses the correlation between free speech and guilty minds.  It is a good read to stay up to date on the latest First Amendment trends and to prepare for the United States Supreme Court upcoming term.

It is axiomatic that whether speech is protected turns on whether it poses a serious risk of harm—in Holmes’s formulation, a “clear and present danger.” If this is correct, then the state of mind, or intent, of the speaker should be irrelevant. Yet First Amendment law makes speaker’s intent a factor in the protection of many different kinds of speech. This Essay offers an account of why and how speaker’s intent matters for speech protection. It argues that strong intuitions work against imposing strict liability for speech. These intuitions are best explained by an interest in speaker’s intent. An autonomy-based account of free speech provides reasons for this interest. Such an account also suggests what kind of intent is necessary before a given speaker may be subject to regulation. Elucidating speaker’s intent thus explains a mysterious aspect of First Amendment law and uncovers a new argument for autonomy theories of free speech.

Leslie Kendrick, Free Speech and Guilty Minds, 114 Col. L. Rev. 1254.

Article – Public Accommodations Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Tags

, ,

Title II of the Civil Rights Act is turning 50 this year.  Yep, that makes it officially middle-aged.  It is not a young law anymore, nor is an old law.  Middle-aged seems apropos for this law. 

The law is still being argued and debated about its application.  For example, I have argued recently, police departments have an affirmative duty under Title II of the Civil rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act to make reasonable accommodations during investigations for those who they know ahead of time suffer from serious mental illnesses.

As with any anniversary, it is a good time to be retrospective.  While I don’t agree with all the conclusions this article makes, I think it is a good timely critical analysis of a perhaps under-recognized piece of legislation in present day society. 

 On its fiftieth anniversary, Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 enjoys widespread social support on all sides of the political spectrum. That support is fully deserved to the extent that the nondiscrimination in public accommodations provisions offset the monopoly power of common carriers and public utilities, or neutralize the abusive application of public power and private violence to sup-press the free entry of firms that would otherwise target minority customers in competitive markets.

The subsequent expansion of Title II’s nondiscrimination principle becomes much more difficult to justify, however, when applied to normal businesses when segregationist forces no longer hold sway. In particular, these principles are suspect when applied to membership organizations that care about their joint governance and common objectives. In these cases, the principles of freedom of association should constitutionally protect all groups, even those that do not fall under the uncertain rubric of expressive associations.

The application of the modern antidiscrimination rules for public accommodations to Christian groups who are opposed to gay marriage on moral principle represents a regrettable inversion of the original purpose of Title II, using state power to force these groups to the unpalatable choice of exiting the market or complying with these modern human rights laws that prohibit any discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. These rules should be struck down even if the other antidiscrimination prohibitions represent a group of settled expectations that no one today wishes to overturn.

Richard A. Epstein, Public Accommodations Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Why Freedom of Association Counts as a Human Right, 66 Stan. L. Rev. 1241.

What is Excessive Force in Arizona?

Tags

, , ,

Police practices have come under national scrutiny.  What is excessive force by law enforcement agencies and what is not?  While the nation is still coming to terms with the shooting by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, this is not an isolated problem. Phoenix and Arizona have faced their own questions about what amounts to excessive force during a mental health call and when ASU Assistant Professor Ersula Ore P.h.d. was videoed being slammed into a police car resulting from questioning about jaywalking.

Judging the use of force is a difficult undertaking, especially from the outside.  It is important judgment to make sure there are not abuses in the process.  Because of the power that police have, cases of alleged excessive force make the news.  But rarely does the discussion involve what excessive force is legally, especially from the police’s standpoint.

Police manuals (also referred to as: directives, policies, orders, etc) can be considered an internal standards of care.  Using them can help determine if police officers act in accordance with the law.  See Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 448-51 (1966) (where the court expressly used and quoted police manuals to determine the standard practice for custodial interrogations at that time).

This blog post intends to examine what the guidelines are for Arizona law enforcement agencies use of force.  Through examining the Arizona Revised Statutes and police department procedures and manuals for the three largest cities in Arizona (Phoenix, Mesa and Tucson), I hope to piece together a general standard for when police are allowed to use force.

Continue reading

Phoenix Police Kill During Mental-Health Call

Tags

, , ,

Last week the Phoenix Police Department shot and killed a woman while trying to serve a mental health order.  Caseworkers “were trying to get her to come in for treatment. It got to the point that she wouldn’t do that. … She had a weapon and was making threats.”  Reported the AZ Republic.

Last spring I gave a talk to several Arizona charities and non-profits about what the Americans with Disabilities Act requires as “reasonable accommodations” when law enforcement agencies enter into situations with people who they knew have a mental illness.  The ADA was passed by Congress only in 1990 and only a handful of cases involving the ADA and the police have made it to federal court of appeals, let alone cases specifically dealing with mental illness.  This is an emerging area of the law and there is not much written about it.

The Police’s Duty to Accommodate Under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Police Have Affirmative Duty to Accommodate Disabilities.

This incident with the Phoenix Police Department fits that situation precisely.  The Phoenix Police Department is a law enforcement agency and is governed by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, dealing with public entities.  Title 42 U.S.C. § 12131, et. seq.  A person with a serious mental illness with a serious mental illness qualifies for the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Title 42 U.S.C. § 12132 (1).  Lastly, since the police are aware of the disability, they should make reasonable accommodations.

“Title II’s affirmative obligation to accommodate persons with disabilities in the administration of justice cannot be said to be so out of proportion to a supposed remedial or preventive object that it cannot be understood as responsive to, or designed to prevent, unconstitutional behavior. It is, rather, a reasonable prophylactic measure, reasonably targeted to a legitimate end.”  Tennessee v. Lane, 541 U.S. 509, 533 (2004) (internal quotation marks omitted).

Even the United States Supreme Court acknowledged individuals with mental illness are persons with disabilities who have suffered unconstitutional behavior in the past, and need the prophylactic protections of the ADA.

[T]he mentally retarded have been subject to a ‘lengthy and tragic history,’ of segregation and discrimination that can only be called grotesque.

– City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 473 U.S. 432, 461 (1985) (Marshall, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part) (quoting University of California Regents v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 303 (1978)).

Continue reading

Article – Arizona v. California and the Colorado River Compact: Fifty Years Ago, Fifty Years Ahead

Tags

, ,

The origin of the Colorado River in northern Colorado along the continental divide does not appear to be more than a stream.  The Colorado River supplies much of the western United States with drinking water and energy.

Water rights are a hot topic in the western United States.

After years of bickering and unable to make an agreement between themselves, Congress wrote the Boulder Canyon Project Act of December 21, 1928, each state consented to water rights usage of the Colorado River.   The contract between Arizona, California, Nevada, etc. was meant to be irrevocable.  The contract divided up the 7,500,000 acre-feet of the Colorado River available to the States.

Less than 25 years later, in 1952 Arizona sued California in the United States Supreme Court over how much water each State has a legal right to use out of the waters of the Colorado River and its tributaries.  Arizona v. California, 373 U.S. 546 (1963) (it took 10 years to decide because the Supreme Court had to remand the case to a trial court for a finding of fact for water usage, etc., then the case went back to the Supreme Court for a final determination).

“The [Boulder Canyon Project] Act as finally passed did provide such a method, and, as we view it, the method chosen was a complete statutory apportionment intended to put an end to the long-standing dispute over Colorado River waters.” Arizona v. California, 373 U.S. 546, 560 (1963).

Water law is really old and complex.  However, these long-standing agreements and court decisions still impact water rights today.

As the southwest grows and water usage soars something will eventually have to give.

Hydrologic conditions in the Colorado River Basin have changed markedly in the fifty-year period since the U.S. Supreme Court announced the seminal Colorado River decision of Arizona v. California in 1963. As projected by the Bureau of Reclamation in its recent Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study, this pattern of change is anticipated to persist during the next fifty years. Water demands exceeded supplies on average in the basin for the first time in recorded history over the past decade, and this supply-demand imbalance is forecast to widen between now and 2060, absent changes in the status quo. Rooted in concerns about reliance interests and expectations attached to Colorado River water in the Lower Basin, this Article considers the nuanced relationship between Arizona v. California and the Colorado River Compact as this relationship is implicated by the supply-demand imbalance. We initially provide an overview of the Compact’s prominent role in the Arizona v. California litigation — notwithstanding the majority’s ultimate disregard of it in the final decision. We then consider Arizona v. California’s facilitation of water uses and losses in the Lower Basin over the past several decades and essential parameters put into place by the Compact that bear on future efforts to manage these uses and losses. We conclude by advocating for the formulation of a Lower Basin water budget that is informed by the Compact’s basinwide apportionment scheme as a means for navigating the supply-demand imbalance.

Jason A. Robinson and Lawrence J. MacDonnell, Arizona v. California & the Colorado River Compact: Fifty Years Ago, Fifty Years Ahead, 4 Ariz. J. Envtl. L. & Pol’y 130 (2014)

 

Civil Rights Case – Colwell v. Bannister 9th Cir. 2014

Tags

, , ,

The Ninth Circuit Court of appeals recently looked at whether it is a violation of the Eighth Amendment when a Nevada state prisoner who was denied cataract surgery because of a Nevada Department of Corrections policy under which cataract surgery is refused if an inmate can manage to function in prison with one eye.

Facts

Mr. Colwell is an inmate at the Nevada Department of Corrections serving a life sentenced without possibility of parole. Colwell v. Bannister, No. 12-15844, at *4 (9th Cir. Aug. 14, 2014). After incarceration Mr. Colwell developed cataracts in both eyes and underwent cataract-removal surgery on his left eye in 2001.  Id. “By October 2001, a cataract had developed in Colwell’s right eye that rendered him totally blind in that eye by 2002.” Id. That cataract has never been treated and is the issue here.

The Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) Medical Director, Dr. Bruce Bannister, stated a cataract does no damage to the eye and can be removed at any time. Id.

The NDOC has a written policy on cataract removals.

It is the policy of the Department that inmates
with cataracts will be evaluated on a case by
case basis, taking into consideration their
ability to function within their current living
environment.

Id. at *5.

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.