Objection!: How the Arizona Rules of Evidence Affect the Arizona Election Litigation

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Joel Truett.The CaseIn the wake of this year’s presidential election, President Trump promised to take legal action to challenge the counting of the vote in several states.  Cases have been brought across the country, with supporters of the President continuing to argue that failures in vote counting or voter fraud were responsible for Joe Biden’s lead. Here in Arizona, the Trump campaign brought a case in Maricopa County alleging that they had evidence of “overvotes” being handled improperly  on election day. They argued that this was evidence of systematic errors in counting the vote that affected the election results. While this case was later withdrawn by the campaign, the hearing held on November 12 served as an interesting look at how the rules of evidence can influence election cases.…
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A Parent’s Constitutional Right to Visitation and Association…. from Prison?

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Stephanie Deskins.On September 22, 2020, the Arizona Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Jessie D. v Department of Child Safety, F.V., M.D., M.D., C.D. The juvenile court terminated Jessie’s parental rights to his four children because he is currently serving seven years in prison. On appeal, the Arizona Court of Appeals agreed with the juvenile court’s decision. The Arizona Supreme Court granted Jessie’s Petition for Review, and their upcoming decision could impact the parental rights of other incarcerated individuals and clarify the extent of DCS’ legal obligation to encourage and support the reuniting of families.  THE FACTSAfter one of Jessie’s children accidentally burned down their family home in August of 2016, his four children and their mother stayed at a UMOM homeless shelter. Because Jessie had…
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Is Wrongful Imprisonment Worth Something?

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
It is hard to think of something more patently unfair than a person being convicted and imprisoned for a crime they did not commit. But that is exactly what happened in 1980 to Cathy Woods. Cathy spent nearly thirty-four years in prison in Nevada after falsely confessing to the murder of a woman, which she did in an attempt to get a better room at the psychiatric hospital where she was a patient. Despite her history of mental illness and other false claims she made—including that she worked for the FBI and that her mother was poisoning her—she was convicted and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. It was not until 2014 that her conviction was vacated due to new DNA evidence that failed to tie her to…
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Working from Home in the Era of COVID-19: Why American Workers May Need Federal Tax Reform Relating to Home Office Deductions

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
Today, nearly half of American workers are working from home full-time. As COVID-19 cases across the country and in Arizona specifically continue to rise, it is clear that working from home is the new normal. Teachers are lesson planning from their living rooms, therapists are Zooming with clients from their kitchens, news anchors are telecasting live from their dining rooms, and many other workers are working from their home offices. Whether you have always worked from home or have recently transitioned due to COVID-19 safety measures, you may be wondering whether you can claim a federal income tax deduction for the home office expenses you have incurred in the year 2020. Unfortunately, and perhaps surprisingly, the answer is likely no.The 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) "Home Office" by…
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Why Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer Care About the Arizona Corporation Commission—and You Should Too

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Sarah Brunswick.Before a chunk of coal or beam of sunlight can charge a phone or brew coffee, electricity must first be made (generation), transported to your area (transmission), and delivered to your home (distribution). Electric utilities make this happen for the smallest of households and the largest of Amazon server farms. Thus, utilities make an ideal target for renewable energy policies.Renewable portfolio standards (RPSs) have been one of the most successful policies in driving renewable energy development. Renewable portfolio standards set goals, or mandates, for what percentage of electricity sales or production should be renewable by a target date. In states with mandatory RPSs, utilities are forced to diversify their energy sources. In voluntary states, incentives drive utilities to make changes. Thirty-seven states have RPSs. Most states target between…
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PHOENIX-BASED ELECTRIC AND HYDROGEN CAR COMPANY STALLS OVER FRAUD SUBPOENAS

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Tessa Patterson.Phoenix-based startup Nikola Motor Company (“Nikola”) has risen to the top. Nikola was once valued at more than Ford Motor Company buthas since endured bumpy roads, including a patent lawsuit with fellow electric car competitor, Tesla. The most recent roadblocks comes in the form of fraud allegations from short-seller Hidenburg Research, and subpoenas from the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Subpoenas do not necessarily mean any action will be brought against Nikola. Though if the government uncovers the necessary elements of fraud, it may get the green light to bring suit.What is Nikola?Founded by Trevor Milton in 2014, Nikola specializes in battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, with a focus on semitrucks. Since going public in June through a special-purpose acquisition company, Nikola’s stock price…
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Native American Voters Shape 2020 Election Despite Modern Voting Obstacles

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Renee Guerin.Native Voters at the Forefront of the 2020 Election The recent presidential election underscored the importance of an often-overlooked group—indigenous voters. Multiple news outlets lauded Native voters as key to President-elect Biden’s narrow victory in decisive states like Wisconsin and Arizona. One news source suggested Biden won 98% of the Native vote in Arizona (in comparison to 51% of the vote statewide). Similarly, Dr. Len Necefer, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona and Navajo Nation member, estimated that 76,000 of 86,000 registered Navajo voters cast a ballot and approximately 74,000 voted for President-elect Biden. This increased turnout is largely due to the efforts of Native activists and grassroots organizations to register voters, provide voting resources, and create media campaigns which mobilized indigenous voters.  "'Proud Requiem' //…
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Keep Your Friends Close, and Your Signatories Closer

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By John Butzer.IntroductionCan an individual who is not a party to a contract be bound to a limitation provision of that contract? In Arizona, the answer is no. Recently, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously decided in JTF Aviation Holdings, Inc. v. CliftonLarsonAllen LLP that the closely related party doctrine does not extend to this scenario.  "Signature" by Hammer51012 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 The Original DisputeIn December 2013, JTF Aviation, Inc. (JTF) hired CliftonLarsonAllen LLP (CLA) to conduct an audit of JTF’s consolidated financial statements. The primary purpose of the audit was to ensure that JTF’s financial information was presented in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, known as GAAP. JTF and CLA documented their relationship with an Engagement Letter, which was signed by JTF’s Chief Financial Officer, Dick…
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Too Juul for School: The Rise of Vaping Among Minors and How Prop 207 May Change the Game

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Eric Wilkins.E-cigarettes, or “vapes,” have been climbing in popularity since they first arrived in American markets in 2007. Originally, vaping was proposed as a “healthier” alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. In recent years, marketing strategies of e-cigarette vendors have, seemingly, increasingly targeted minors with unfortunate success. The recent explosion in their popularity—coupled with the rise in associated health complications—has received enough attention to result in a string of lawsuits and discussion by policymakers. E-cigarettes: A Litigious History  Notwithstanding their relatively recent introduction to the market, the story of legal battles within the e-cigarette industry is convoluted. As just one example, Juul Labs, Inc.—a ubiquitous industry giant whose name has become nearly synonymous with vaping itself—is currently facing more than seven hundred lawsuits from numerous states (including Arizona), cities, school…
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Amy Coney Barrett’s Confirmation: Adding Fuel to the Political Fire of 2020

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Aurora Walker.With a global pandemic, a massive economic slump, widespread civil unrest, and a contentious presidential election, the year 2020 has turned up the heat on political drama in America. To top all of this off, President Trump added even more fuel to the fire by nominating Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.Ginsburg died on September 18, and in the following days and weeks,Americans paid tribute to her life and legacy. President Trump nominated Barrett just eight days after Ginsburg’s death and just a few weeks before the 2020 general election. A majority of Americans opposed the timetable of her appointment. While some were elated at the prospect of a young, conservative woman on the court, others had concerns about Barrett’s judicial views…
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