The Arizona Desert Lamp

New Arizona Law Blog

Posted in Uncategorized by Evan Lisull on 8 November 2008

Via Radley Balko (from awhile back, I know), a cool libertarian law blog on criminal defense in Arizona. A sampling:

I recently had a case where a police officer claimed he was able to smell a very small amount of unburnt marijuana. The amount was the same weight as a level teaspoon of salt, yet the officer pulled over the truck and performed a search of the vehicle without the client’s permission based solely on the odor of unburnt marijuana. The marijuana was located in the back of a closed camper inside two sealed plastic baggies inside a nylon gym bag filled with clothes. I have absolutely no doubt that the officer couldn’t have possibly smelled that marijuana. However, as a defense attorney few tools exist for me to challenge the claim on a scientific basis. . . .

What I’d like to be able to do is take the marijuana from the police evidence and put it in one car out of ten and let the officer try and pick the right vehicle. I’ve never heard of a judge allowing such a test, but I’ll keep looking and trying. Alternatively, I’d like some type of scientific test that could be used to call into question the officer’s ability.

As Saturday night approaches, you might want to read the rest of their stuff here.


UA law dean to step down

Posted in Campus by Evan Lisull on 2 September 2008

Just as the James E. Rogers College of Law is beginning to emerge from the chrysalis of a $21 million construction project, the program is shaken with a new change:

The University of Arizona is beginning a national search to replace the dean of its law school, Toni Massaro.

Massaro told faculty, students and alumni on Thursday of her decision to step down and return to teaching next year.

Massaro, 55, became the first woman to lead the James E. Rogers College of Law in 1999.

As an ancillary note, Massaro was an fairly young dean, appointed when she was only 46 years old. From a non-law-student’s perspective, it seems that Dean Massaro did a solid job on bringing in top notch speakers, including several Supreme Court judges (for example, the upcoming speaking engagement with Justice Stephen Breyer on September 8).

However, her stepping down leaves a school that is already in a transitory state with even further change to deal with we. Ideally, Dean Massaro has established an institution with enough promise to draw in some particularly keen nominees.

Shelton on the Amethyst Initiative

Posted in Campus by Evan Lisull on 26 August 2008

A few days ago, the Amethyst Initiative made news by releasing a list of over 100 college presidents and other high-ranking officials who had signed onto their program. As the website states, “These higher education leaders have signed their names to a public statement that the 21 year-old drinking age is not working, and, specifically, that it has created a culture of dangerous binge drinking on their campuses.”

President Shelton, however, did not sign on. Below is the text of the email he sent in response:

Some thoughts on the Amethyst Initiative.

Underage drinking in general and binge drinking specifically are serious
concerns for our society and certainly at universities where so many young
people in the 18-20 age group are present.  It is wise to think about, plan
and execute programs that address these problems.  From my perspective, I do
not believe the issue is sufficiently simple to be solved by lowering the
drinking age.  I have not signed the petition.  The studies with which I am
familiar indicate that starting to drink earlier can lead to more
problematic behavior in later life.  At the UA, we address these issues
through education and programs to inform and assist students.  I offer a
list of some of our interventions below as provided by the VP for Student

-e-CHUG online, educational intervention for incoming UA freshmen,
completed by over 5,500 students in Fall 2007

-U.S. Dept. of Education Model Program status for reducing alcohol
use among UA Greeks

-SAMHSA funded Project CHAT, that screens students for high-risk
drinking and employs motivational interviewing in a one-on-one setting

-SHADE Alcohol Diversion Program for students with alcohol

-A coordinated social norms marketing campaign that aims to
correct misperceptions about student alcohol use.

-UA staff also serve on the following community groups/coalitions
to address underage alcohol use:

-UA Campus and Community Coalition for Alcohol and Other Drug

-Arizona Underage Drinking Prevention Committee

-Pima County – Tucson Commission on Addiction, Prevention and

-Pima County – Tucson Task Force to Reduce Underage Drinking

-Arizona Institutions of Higher Education (AZIHE) Network, a
statewide consortium that proactively addresses alcohol and other drug (AOD)
use issues among youth attending colleges and universities in Arizona

-Southern Arizona DUI Task Force

-Community Prevention Coalition – partially funded by the State of
Arizona Office of Health and Human Services

If I am thinking of the same study that President Shelton is, then it should be made clear that when the issue of “drinking earlier” is brought up, it refers to, “early initiation of alcohol use (before the age of 14) as one risk factor for problems with alcohol later in life.” Once in college, it’s already passed. Meanwhile, the Marines have already lowered the drinking age for their service members overseas.

Also notice the absence of the following words and/or phrases: civil liberties; adulthood; consent; Amendments XVIII or XXI; or highway funding.

Until Shelton changes his mind, however, we can continue to enjoy the wonderful results of these many, educational programs.

(The email also mentioned that it was sent to a Wildcat reporter, so expect this to pop up in the paper in the next few days.)