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January 2015

Phoenix Team Wins Significant Special Action Appeal

Phoenix partner Leon Silver and of counsel Andrew Jacob won a special action appeal at the Arizona Court of Appeals for their client, the owner of a chain of Phoenix area restaurants. The victory in Frimmel v. Sanders offers the client a chance to undermine – and possibly escape – charges he knowingly hired undocumented workers.

In a significant Nov. 25 published opinion, the court said there were “seemingly pervasive misstatements of basic facts” made by Maricopa County sheriff’s detectives when they obtained search warrants for the client’s home and the Uncle Sam’s restaurants he owns. The court said there is evidence of “numerous misrepresentations and omissions of material facts” and found that “[w]hat is lacking in the record is credible evidence to support the alleged complicity of [the client]; that [the client] participated in illegal activity, let alone conspired with others to hire undocumented persons or assist them in forging credentials, appears to be left purely to conjecture based upon the records before this Court.” Mr. Silver points out that the charges themselves are based on the same misstatements and omissions, thus the ruling goes a long way toward exonerating the client of any wrongdoing.

The ruling is unusual in the length to which the Court of Appeals examined each alleged misstatement and omission and expressly found that, based on the record before it, every one of them should have been stricken from the various search warrant affidavits. Since granting special action jurisdiction in a criminal matter invites vast numbers of other petitions, the court clearly believed that this case was particularly egregious – something the language of the ruling overwhelmingly demonstrates.

For a recent Courthouse News Service article on Frimmel v. Sanders, click here.