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April 19, 2018


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Thank you for this clear and even-handed portrayal of this most famous of cases and names.

I don't know the corresponding timing but these sorts of warnings are common in many nations and I wonder if Miranda was a pace-setter for the rest of the world, or if we were catching up to what some other nations were already doing?

Also, thank you for the Adam-12 reference. One of my very favorite shows. I've seen each episode two or three times. I'd probably re-watch it more often if my wife didn't tired of seeing the same thing over and over again!

Great article! I never knew most of that. Very little of what I read about the Warren court is encouraging to me, this included.

I love Adam-12 too! Also Emergency!, of course. Adam-12 was simultaneously realistic and idealized. If the job were really like that, I could see myself being a cop. Emergency! is also idealized, but as someone currently with a job description very similar to Roy Desoto's, I can say that it is still one of the most realistic firefighting/ems shows ever and vastly more so than the current ones.

I grew up knowing who Arizona lawyers were because my father spent a lot of time with them, usually defending himself in lawsuits and few times in criminal complaints from the government. He was represented by Herb Finn, a lawyer instrumental in desegregating Phoenix schools, and John Flynn, the state's premier criminal defense lawyer, at different points in his life. If Arizona has a liberal tradition, it's in law. John Frank, the dean of Arizona's legal community, was probably the most powerful private citizen in the state for years. His wife, Lorraine, was a Democratic National Committeewoman and liberal stalwart.

Janet Napolitano came to Frank's law firm, Lewis and Roca, through the recommendation of 9th Circuit Judge Mary Schroeder, who she clerked for after graduating law school. Frank made her a partner within a few short years. She made her first national impression representing Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas hearings. Bill Clinton appointed her US Attorney, a platform that became the foundation of her political career. One of her assistants as US Attorney was Mary Murguia who now sits on the 9th Court. Governor Napolitano also appointed Andrew Hurwitz, once Bruce Babbitt's Chief of Staff, to the Arizona Supreme Court. Later, Barack Obama appointed him to the 9th Court.

It's easy to forget how progressive Arizona once was. John Frank and John Flynn made history not as obscure lawyers from some provincial backwater but as nationally-known attorneys. They made life fairer for people without power and money. If you're a right-winger, you will hate them for that reason.

Thanks, soleri, for this.

I remember reading about John Flynn. He was much in the news in the 60s. Knowledge of his defensive skills percolated through news stories down to the masses: My mom used to remark that if you were a woman who had killed an abusive husband, you should get Flynn.

Arizona does indeed have a forgotten liberal tradition, going back to our efforts to attain statehood, which was delayed by Arizona's insistence on having a constitutional provision allowing recall of judges by the people. Only when the delegates to our constitutional convention dropped that were we admitted to the Union by the pen of William Howard Taft, who had vehemently opposed recall of judges.

Once in the Union, we put the provision back in.

Arizona's first governor George W.P. Hunt was a great progressive leader. Today, many people only know the image of a walrus-mustachioed, bald-pated, antique fellow in a white suit, but what has been forgotten is that he was a skilled politician and leader and a champion for causes such as the right to vote for women. (Arizona was national leader in this.)

We were a progressive state until World War II, after which hoards of Republicans from Indiana and like-minded places descended upon us. (Our leading newspaper was purchased by Indianans.)

And so now Arizona finds itself tossed into the same bucket as the benighted South, sick unto death with resentment, race hatred, guns, and religion.

This was not always the case.

Phoenix and Arizona produced some nationally consequential lawyers, Frank and Flynn among them.

It was very controversial when Gov. Ernest McFarland replaced Frank and Theodore Kiendl with Mark Wilmer and Charlie Reed on Arizona v. California. But Mac, a Stanford-trained lawyer himself, was correct. Wilmer and Reed pursued a novel strategy and won. Of course, some of us wish in retrospect the CAP had never happened.

And Phoenix produced its share of mob lawyers, too.

Arizona entered the union as a Progressive and Democratic Party state. One element of this was creation of a Corporation Commission to regulate railroads and other monopolies (now it's captured). The state Constitution is full of Progressive nostrums, such as the popular referendum.

The Progressive era had players in both parties, e.g. Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. But in many places, it also coexisted with white supremacy — something critics decried at the time. Wilson, the first Southern-born President since the Civil War, segregated the civil service and ousted black postmasters and other officials appointed by TR and Taft.

As a Western and Southern state, Arizona stayed in the Democratic camp through the 1940s. Sometimes its delegation voted with Southern segregationists. The union movement was strong. The New Deal saved Phoenix. Barry Goldwater's 1952 victory was a harbinger of the Midwest migration. But the transformation was slow. Arizona was competitive into the 1990s.

I remember that one of the first local judges to actually apply the Miranda decision (and dismiss a charge due to a tainted confession) was Thomas Tang, who later went on to long and distinguished service on the Ninth Circuit. His decision drew an angry mob outside his residence that night. I don't recall if they were carrying torches, but it was a pretty scary event.

Good article Jon. I was not present nor have I read the complete police report on the sexual assault report of Ms. Fair by Miranda.

There are two issues here; One, The interrogation and subsequent confession by Miranda that appears to be voluntarily given.

Two, the decision by the Supreme Court to instruct law enforcement to advise “suspects” of their rights. Based on what knowledge I have available I think Miranda was a poor choice by the ACLU. Historically there were many more grievous cases of confessions given where subjects did not have a clue about their rights.

However Miranda had the firepower of the greatly respected constitutional and civil rights and defense attorney, John P Frank (http://articles.latimes.com/2002/sep/12/local/me-frank12) and the town’s best criminal defense attorney, John Flynn, a legend in his time. (http://www.myazbar.org/AZAttorney/PDF_Articles/0905Flynn.pdf)
Flynn knew all the shakers and rollers and the politicians. He was the guy you went to when you needed to make a deal. And he provided legal counsel in at least 125 Murder cases (In my opinion Flynn had a clone that became a cop and then an attorney. He is still out there if you need a deal.)

I think the best history of crime and police work and politicians and corruption are contained in Talton’s novels. I started reading them because to me they were factual history woven into a novel. If you dug all the facts out of those novels you would have an 800 page history of Maricopa County Chit.

On the night Miranda bleed to death on the dirt floor of the Amapola Bar, I was there as a Night Detective. I wrote about 12 pages that night, and identified and indexed one of the suspects. A few years ago, maybe 7, I was contacted by the police and asked if I was available to testify. It seems that a warrant was never issued for one of the suspects and for years he had be coming back and forth from Mexico. I said I was available. I never heard back again.

Good cops easily adjusted to the court’s ruling and kept on putting bad folks in prison. I never had a problem with reading, “suspects” their rights. Many of my successful interrogations almost always started with the rights caution and then, “would you like some coffee and a cigarette?”

Footnote, when I worked Bank Robberies with the FBI they were not impressed by my giving coffee and cigarettes to suspects. And it was not unusual for some AIC to admonish me for smoking in the federal interrogation rooms. But I got the confessions they didn’t get.

PS, I never watched Adam 12 I prefer Oceans 11.

Enjoyed the article and the excellent responses.

Note update:
The Attorney that succeeded John Flynn was first a cop.
He died on 15 August 2021.

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