State v JM
ARS 13-1103 – Manslaughter, A Class 2 Dangerous Felony
JM was at his apartment in Tempe with his 2 friends. They had all previous been at the shooting range earlier in the day firing various weapons. JM was walking over to his friend with a handgun when it fired and struck the victim in the head killing him. The Tempe police arrived and conducted a homicide investigation. JM was questioned and subsequently arrested and booked into the county jail. JM was facing a 7-21 year mandatory prison sentence as charged.
JM was a professional and came from a professional family. JM’s family hired an attorney who they had a referral from a family member. The attorney did not have a lot of experience in serious criminal cases. That attorney appeared at the initial appearance hearing before a judge with JM. The judge set a $500,000 secured bond. JM’s family began doing research and investigating hiring more experienced counsel and hired MAASEN LAW FIRM. Mr. Maasen was out of state at the time but flew back to meet JM in jail and his family to go over their options.
MAASEN LAW FIRM immediately filed a motion to modify release conditions asking for a significant reduction in the bond. The firm believed the initial bond was set without presenting all the facts and appropriate background for the judge to consider. The bond was clearly excessive and inappropriate. MAASEN LAW FIRM discussed the bond amount with the prosecutor and the victim’s family attorney before court. The judge at the not guilty arraignment hearing reduced the bond from $500,000 to $100,000. Days before, JM’s family was prepared to pay $50,000 (10%) in addition to securing collateral to make the $500,000 bond for JM to be released. MAASEN LAW FIRM recommended waiting and seeing what the judge would do. JM’s family saved $40,000 in bond fees by following the firm’s advice.
JM was released from jail. MAASEN LAW FIRM began an in depth investigation of the case. The firm’s attorneys went to the crime scene and interviewed witnesses. They then talked with several ballistics and firearms experts in Arizona and nationally. MAASEN LAW FIRM’s review of the case led it to conclude this was an accidental, not intentional shooting. The firm submitted a significant amount of background information; an alcohol risk assessment, character letters, letters from fellow employees and his employer.
MAASEN LAW FIRM negotiated a dismissal of the manslaughter charge and JM pled guilty to a less serious charge of negligent homicide. The judge sentenced JM to one year of work furlough jail and 4 years of supervised probation. JM was able to work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week and keep his job.
Charge reduced to ARS 13-1102 Negligent Homicide