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Gerald Gavin, left, co-counsel for Shawn Grell, right, shows his frustration as Judge Barbara Jarrett sentences Grell to death in Maricopa County Superior Court in Mesa. July 9, 2001. Pool photo.
Gerald Gavin, left, co-counsel for Shawn Grell, right, shows his frustration as Judge Barbara Jarrett sentences Grell to death in Maricopa County Superior Court in Mesa. July 9, 2001.
TUCSON - A lawyer who will be helping represent a former beauty queen accused of kidnapping a former boyfriend says she's made poor choices in men.
Calling the legislation unconstitutional, members of a special screening panel asked the Arizona Supreme Court late Friday to void a law that would require them to give the governor more names from which to select new judges.
Complaining that Jodi Arias' sensational murder case has become a modern-day "witch trial," her lawyers tried to quit in the middle of the death-penalty phase Monday, then said they will call only one witness: Arias.
SAN DIEGO — The attorney for a 22-year-old loner accused of trying to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has a low-key style and a record of saving high-profile clients from the death penalty.
Judy Clarke worked on plea agreements that spared "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph, who bombed abortion clinics in the late 1990s and Atlanta's Olympic park in 1996. She was on a team that negotiated a plea that avoided death for white supremacist Buford Furrow Jr., who shot up a Jewish center in Los Angeles in 1999.
She also helped persuade a jury to spare the life of Susan Smith, who strapped her sons in their car seats and let her car roll into a South Carolina lake in 1994, carrying the boys to their deaths.
Colleagues describe Clarke, 58, as a tireless advocate for her clients and a staunch opponent of the death penalty who shuns the spotlight.
Her lack of ego is "so uncharacteristic among criminal defense lawyers that it's almost freakish," said David Bruck, a close friend since they attended law school at the University of South Carolina and her co-counsel for Smith.
"She'll be invisible to the press," Bruck said. "She won't give you two minutes between now and when the trial is over unless there's a very good reason having to do with her client's defense. She will never get in front of the cameras just to be in front of the cameras."
Clarke, who was raised in Asheville, N.C., has called San Diego home for much of the last 30 years. Her passion and skill at defending death penalty cases have made her a hot commodity across the country, and she travels frequently.
"Some of these cases are not about, 'Is the defendant guilty?'" said Quin Denvir, her co-counsel on the Unabomber case. "It's about what the sentence is going to be. That could be true in this case."
Jared Loughner potentially faces the death penalty on charges of trying to kill the Arizona congresswoman in a shooting spree Saturday. In total, six died and 14 were injured or wounded in the assault outside a Tucson supermarket.
Among the dead was a 9-year-old girl who was born on the day of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a federal judge and one of Giffords' aides.
Bruck said Clarke has been able to strike deals with prosecutors that initially seemed out of the question.
Furrow stormed a Los Angeles Jewish center packed with children and fired 70 bullets, injuring five people, and then killed a Filipino-American letter carrier by shooting him nine times. In reaching a plea deal that spared him the death penalty, Clarke highlighted Furrow's history of mental problems and how he tried to get help without success.
"The issues in a death penalty case are often not who did it or what did the person do but who is this person?" said Bruck, a professor at Washington and Lee University. "Judy knows how to approach that question."
Tommy Pope, who argued for the death penalty as lead prosecutor against Smith, said the defense team succeeded at casting their client as sympathetic, even though she killed her children.
"Their goal and their task will be to humanize (Loughner)," said Pope, now a South Carolina legislator. "In Smith, they did, and it was effective."
Clarke donated the nearly $83,000 fee that she earned from defending Smith to a South Carolina group that provides legal assistance for defendants in death penalty cases.
Clarke, who didn't respond to phone messages Monday, told the San Antonio Express-News in 1996 that she wanted to be a lawyer since she was 11 or 12 years old and has always been an advocate for the underdog.
"I thought it would be neat to be Perry Mason and win all the time," she said.
She headed the federal public defender's office in San Diego from 1983 to 1991 and in Spokane, Wash., from 1992 to 2002. She is married to Speedy Rice, a law professor at Washington and Lee who focuses on international law and human rights.
Mario Conte, who teaches at California Western School of Law in San Diego and has known Clarke since 1980, said her passion against the death penalty is unique among criminal defense lawyers.
"There are a lot of us who are very philosophically opposed in our line of work, but Judy certainly takes it to another level," he said.
DETROIT - Kid Rock has won an initial victory in his attempt to stop a California company from releasing an explicit sex video featuring the rap-rocker, former Creed singer Scott Stapp and four women.
Jurors in the death penalty trial of a Phoenix man will hear dueling theories Thursday of how a Scottsdale man and his married girlfriend died four years ago.
A group of Arizona atheists has gone to court to block Gov. Jan Brewer from doing something she has done at least twice before: Declare the first Thursday in May as a day of prayer.
Two separate lawsuits were filed Wednesday arguing Arizona’s system to fund public education is “unequitable” and “unconstitutional.”
ORANGE, Calif. — A California judge appointed a lawyer Monday to oversee the estate of Nadya Suleman’s octuplets, saying he wanted to ensure they weren’t exploited by reality television shows, tabloid photo spreads or other paid ventures.
TUCSON - A U.S. Border Patrol agent won’t be tried for a third time in the shooting death of an illegal immigrant in the southern Arizona desert last year, a top Cochise County prosecutor said Thursday.
A lawsuit alleges Tempe-based LifeLock defrauds customers by offering identity-theft protection services it cannot legally perform and promoting a $1 million guarantee that it alleges is “wildly misleading.”
SAN FRANCISCO - Television bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman, who had his reality show taken off the air after getting caught using a racial slur, will not be extradited to Mexico to face a pending appeal of kidnapping charges against him, a judge ruled Monday.
CHICAGO - Ten days before the impeachment trial that could cost Gov. Rod Blagojevich his office, his team of defense lawyers said Friday they have withdrawn from the proceedings, which two of the attorneys compared to a "lynching."
LAFAYETTE, Calif. (AP) -- A friend of defense attorney and TV legal pundit David Horowitz said Monday police are getting closer to a break in the slaying of Horowitz's wife, and a judge declared a mistrial in a murder case against one of Horowitz's clients. Horowitz found Pamela Vitale dead Saturday night at the entrance of the mobile home they shared on property where they were building their dream estate, authorities said.
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A pair of Supreme Court rulings this week is stoking fears that the Internet is becoming an ever-more centralized platform for entrenched corporate interests - the antithesis of the digital commons envisioned by technophiles and civil libertarians.
The wife of a Scottsdale police sergeant who was killed and a Gilbert officer who was injured during a SWAT training blast are suing the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the maker of the tool that exploded.
Jodi Arias asked jurors Tuesday to give her life in prison, saying she "lacked perspective" when she told a local reporter in an interview that she preferred execution to spending the rest of her days in jail.