- Associated Press - Sunday, April 10, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - Prosecutors are doing a review of state laws to decide if Arizona has too many on the books.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports (https://bit.ly/1SXYnxx ) that the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys Advisory Council is reviewing criminal provisions outside the state’s criminal code. According to the group, more than 670 misdemeanors and about 250 felonies are listed outside Title 13 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.

Council staff attorney Kim MacEachern said the group is looking at the provisions to make sure state law is working as it’s supposed to.

“That’s one issue, how do we even know what all the criminal laws are when they’re all so spread out like that,” MacEachern said.

Criminal charges not under the state criminal code are lumped under other parts of Arizona law. For example, state laws governing agriculture allow a criminal charge for recklessly allowing a dog to chase and injure a cow - account recently faced by a client of defense attorney Marc Victor.

“The injury that was alleged in my case, which went to trial by the way, was stress to a cow,” Victor said. “They called an expert who got up on the stand and said, ‘Oh, the cow was stressed, this is how cows display stress.’”

Victor won the case in which his client was facing the possibility of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. He said it wasn’t his first foray into obscure ordinances.

“I’ve got people coming in with crimes I’ve never heard of and I’ve been practicing criminal law for 22 years,” Victor said.

Other obscure crimes include selling horse meat as beef, which can lead to a year in jail. Filing a false bingo report can lead to a year-long sentence.

Victor said most of these obscure statues could easily be abandoned and prosecuted under more broadly defined crimes.


Information from: Arizona Capitol Times, https://www.arizonacapitoltimes.com

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