Category Archives: Law Offices Gary Rohlwing

Arizona Town Hall: Why Do People Return to Prison?

Arizona has turned its attention to re-entry and recidivism of former prisoners.  One organization that is studying the issue is Arizona Town Hall. The following is taken from “Re-Entry and Recidivism” by Kevin Wright, PhD, Criminal Justice in Arizona 2018, Arizona Town Hall Why do people return to prison?  Traditional explanations such as “crime as a choice” and “crime is all they know” don’t really get us that far.  In the summer of 2017, researchers from Arizona State University worked with incarcerated men to develop and implement a study that would ask them why they were in prison.  They completed 409 interviews in two months at the medium-security East Unit of the Arizona State Prison Complex at Florence. The report was shared with the Governor’s Office. Early in the interview, the incarcerated men were asked:  Why do you think most people come back to prison. Several themes emerged: 44% said a lack of resources or programming contributed to recidivism.  One respondent stated, “Because they are not adequately prepared for reentry into society, because they have not made successful and dedicated transformation from their old lifestyle to one that would keep them out of prison.” 27% said drug and alcohol use.  As a respondent remarked, “A lot of felons have serious drug addiction problems. . . When addicts get out, there aren’t any affordable treatment options.” The third most common theme was an inability to change thinking and behavior or resorting to comfort.  This was best captured by the respondent who said: “Lack of education, skills, and a desire to succeed. They stay in here for a long time, get complacent and [there isn’t] any real type of job training to teach them how to be successful. So, they revert back to crime (what they know) because they’re unprepared for society. … Prison isn’t much of a deterrent anymore when someone isn’t taught how to live.” Other themes that emerged included lack of a support system/mentor (16 percent), lack of education (15 percent), money issues (14 percent), stigma (14 percent), and peers, neighborhood or family environment (12 percent). 62% of the 409 men interviewed were recidivists.  Compared to first time prisoners, they were more likely to believe they had a substance abuse problem (52% to 35%) and more likely to not know where they would live upon release (31% to 17%).  They were statistically significantly more likely to report needing assistance with obtaining identification, transportation, housing, childcare, family and friend support, meals, employment, mentorship, substance abuse, healthcare and religious services. If you are a former prisoner and facing new charges, you need an experienced defense attorney to represent you.  Attorney Gary Rohlwing has over three decades of experience representing former prisoners facing new charges. Please call him today for a free consultation.

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Arizona Town Hall: Sentencing

Arizona is a law and order state with some of the harshest sentencing laws in the country.  Several criminal justice groups from the left and the right have taken notice. One of these groups is Arizona Town Hall.  The following is taken from “Sentencing and Incarceration” by Cassia Spohn, PhD, Criminal Justice in Arizona 2018, Arizona Town Hall   In Arizona, judges use the Arizona sentencing guidelines which are based on two factors: whether the offense is a dangerous or non-dangerous felony and whether the defendant is a first time offender or a repeat offender. Dangerous felony charges are serious, violent or aggravated offenses such as murder, aggravated assault, sexual assault, dangerous crimes against children, and armed robbery.  There are separate sentencing tables for first time offenders, offenders with one or two historical priors and offenders with prior convictions for one or more dangerous offenses. Each sentencing table has a minimum, presumptive, and maximum sentence. For repeat dangerous offenders, the sentencing table has a minimum, maximum, and increased maximum sentence. For example, a first time offender convicted of a class 2 felony dangerous offense could face a minimum sentence of seven years, a presumptive sentence of 10.5 years, or a maximum sentence of 21 years.  However, an offender convicted of a class 2 felony dangerous offense who had previously been convicted of two or more class 2 dangerous offenses would be facing a minimum sentence of 21 years, a presumptive sentence of 28 years, or a maximum sentence of 35 years. Offenders convicted of non-dangerous felonies are somewhat different. Although these offenses are also categorized by the class of offense and by the offender’s criminal history, the sentencing tables provide a mitigated and aggravated sentence in addition to the minimum, presumptive and maximum sentences. As an example, a first time offender convicted of a non-dangerous class 2 felony would be facing a minimum sentence of four years, a presumptive sentence of five years, or a maximum sentence of 10 years.  If the judge finds at least two mitigating factors, like the defendant’s youth or the defendant played a minor role in the crime, the judge can reduce the sentence below the minimum sentence. Similarly, if there are at least two aggravating factors, such as the defendant had an accomplice or the crime was committed in a heinous, cruel or depraved manner, the judge can increase the sentence above the recommended maximum sentence. Moreover, all first-time, non-dangerous felony offenders are eligible for probation. The author wrote: “Arizona has a “truth-in-sentencing” statute. Passed in 1993, the statute requires that offenders serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed by the judge before being eligible for discretionary release. According to The Sentencing Project, Arizona’s incarceration rate is the forth-highest in the United States. In 2016 it was 585 per 100,000 population, compared to a rate of 450 per 100,000 for the United States as a whole. There were 40,952 persons imprisoned in Arizona in 2015, including 1,685 (3.9 percent of the prison population) … Continue reading

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MCAO Crime Strategies Group

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has started a new group called the Crime Strategies Group.  The following information is from “Intelligence Focused Prosecution at the MCAO”, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Justice for All September 2018 newsletter The Crime Strategies Group has detectives, paralegals, prosecutors, and analysts who use technology and information sharing to identify crime trends and patterns.  Analysts work directly with law enforcement and the community to achieve successful results. After analyzing and categorizing material related to offenses and offenders, it is communicated to prosecutors so criminals and criminal activity can be stopped as soon as possible.  This system is called Intelligence Focused Prosecution (IFP). The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is one of the few prosecutor offices in the nation to use it. The Crime Strategies Group has thirteen members including crime and intel analysts, a drug intel analyst, a paralegal, and an information systems analyst.  They use a robust group of tools and information to help them identify problems, analyze data, respond, and then assess and process the results. The IFP system is based on teams and group sharing of data and information with local law enforcement agencies.  Geographically assigned prosecutors familiarize themselves with the community drivers in their assigned area and work with police and the assigned crime analysts to best address the problems and offenders. The article describes how the IFP system works: “Analysts conduct research using criminal histories, social media, open sources and plain old gumshoe detective work which often means picking up the phone and calling a detective or analyst in the city next door. The information gleaned from these sources is confirmed and vetted, and when compiled into reports, helps provide prosecutors with the rest of the story. These partnerships often result in success stories between MCAO crime analysts, prosecutors and law enforcement, much like a recent case in the West Valley that you can read more about in the following article. Looking forward, IFP will continue to create assessments based on crime data and law enforcement information to identify areas of emphasis. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery knows the IFP model will allow the Office to reduce crime, enhance public safety and ensure protection to victims, “We will continue to evolve as a strategic focused organization. This IFP approach allows us to get the most effective and meaningful response for public safety. Our crime analysts are the best of the best and their expertise gives our prosecutors focused information to help make the most important decisions.” If you are charged with one or more felonies based on work done by the MCAO Crime Strategies Group, you need an experienced defense attorney.  Attorney Gary Rohlwing has over thirty years of experience. Call him today for a free consultation.

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Arizona County Attorneys’ Mentoring Tips for Prosecutors

The Arizona ethical rules for attorneys have special provisions that apply only to prosecutors. Sheila Polk, the Yavapai County Attorney, and Bill Montgomery, the Maricopa County Attorney, urge young prosecutors to live up to these special provisions in an opinion piece that they wrote for the April 2018 issue of Arizona Attorney magazine entitled “The My Last Word: Mentoring Tips From Prosecutors” which is found online at   They wrote about what it means to be a Minister of Justice: “With the title of Minister of Justice comes the grave responsibility of always seeking the truth, honoring the rights of the accused, and speaking up in the face of injustice. Prosecutors wield great power— the ability to strip an individual of liberty, and even of life itself. Our job is not about conviction rates but about ensuring, always, that justice is done. Never, ever, sacrifice your ethics for a conviction. Prosecutors—all attorneys, in fact—must remember always that your reputation is everything and your handshake is your word. Passions run high in the courtroom; don’t allow things to become personal or take things personally. Everyone has a job to do; leave differences behind and forge a reputation built on the trustworthiness of your handshake. Avoid the temptation to punish a defendant or adversary for their attorney’s conduct. And stay out of the mud no matter how vitriolic things become.” One of their practical tips is to avoid confirmation bias: Avoid confirmation bias—the tendency to search for, interpret, and recall information in a way that confirms preexisting beliefs. The first step in achieving justice is to have an open mind, to listen, and to honestly and fairly evaluate cases, whether for charging or settlement. Another practical tip is civility to others: “Life is about relationships—your family, your colleagues at work, police officers, victims of crime, defense attorneys and their clients, judges, and the incredibly competent administrative professionals working by our sides. Treat everyone with respect and civility. Be willing to reach out a hand, offer a smile, say thank you, admit your mistakes, hold open a door, and listen instead of cutting someone off. We can all be successful while practicing civility. Practice civility always.” Of course, prosecutors are human beings just like judges, victims, defendants, and defense attorneys. They will sometimes fail to live up to the tips above. A prosecutor may have a meltdown in court because a defendant pushed his buttons. Another may believe that a defendant is guilty of a sex crime against a child so that justifies callous behavior. Yet another may fall victim to confirmation bias against a defendant resulting in a plea offer that’s unduly punitive based on the evidence. It’s never a good idea to face the prosecutor alone. Attorney Gary Rohlwing has over thirty years experience dealing with prosecutors and is a former prosecutor. Gary knows the law and will help you protect your rights. Get a free initial consultation by calling Gary Rohwling today.   Law Offices of Gary L Rohlwing … Continue reading

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Experienced, Compassionate Defense Attorney Now in Surprise, Arizona

Are You Looking For A DUI or Criminal Attorney In Surprise, AZ? Gary L. Rohlwing is now servicing Surprise, Arizona. Gary started his legal career as a prosecutor in the Phoenix City Prosecutor’s Office. He realized that being a defense attorney would be more challenging and that people needed to be defended properly regardless of guilt or innocence. He also realized that his experience prosecuting crimes gave him insight into how the State operates. Over thirty years ago, he decided to go from prosecuting crimes to defending them. Gary has decades of experience defending DUI, drug offenses, domestic violence, burglary, theft, fraud and manslaughter cases. He has practiced in every court located in Maricopa County. Gary is kind, compassionate, and thorough. He treats all clients and their family members with dignity and respect. He does not judge clients at all. He listens to what clients and their family members tell him about their cases. DUI, drug offenses and domestic violence cases can be complex and confusing with many legal issues that may not be apparent from simply reading the police reports. He will thoroughly investigate every potential legal issue in a client’s case. Gary knows that every client wants a quality legal defense for a reasonable fee. He charges a reasonable fixed fee for every case. Interested in learning more? Visit the Law Offices of Gary Rohlwing or call him at (623) 937-1692.   What Questions Should You ask a Potential DUI Attorney? Being charged with a DUI in Surprise, Arizona is a complicated, confusing experience. Even a misdemeanor DUI conviction can have consequences for your job, personal relationships, insurance rates, and privilege to drive. Learn about our practice areas at   Here are some questions you should ask before hiring a DUI attorney How much experience do you have with this type of DUI? Arizona has four basic types of DUI charges: misdemeanor DUI (blood alcohol content between to and .149), misdemeanor Extreme DUI (blood alcohol content between .15 and .199), misdemeanor Super Extreme DUI (blood alcohol content .20 and above), and felony Aggravated DUI. Make sure that any attorney you are considering hiring has experience dealing with your type of DUI. An attorney who has decades of experience dealing with your type of DUI is always a better choice than an attorney with little or no experience.   How much experience do you have with MVD hearings? You will have at least one suspension of your privilege to drive as a consequence of being charged with DUI. In some cases, MVD imposes a discretionary suspension in addition to the mandatory suspension. You may be able to obtain a to and from work driving permit during your period of suspension if you make a timely request for an MVD hearing and argue the right issues before the MVD hearing officer. Many attorneys who handle DUI cases do not help clients with their MVD hearings. It is extremely difficult to represent yourself at an MVD hearing since there is hardly … Continue reading

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