I have a lot of clients who tell me that an officer waited to read them their “rights” until a long time after an arrest. The “rights” that they are talking about are referred to as “Miranda rights” based upon a US Supreme Court case called Miranda versus Arizona. These rights are well known to many people because we hear them on every cop show on T.V.: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to attorney prior to questioning. If you can’t afford an attorney than one will be provided for you.”
These rights only apply to questioning by the police while IN CUSTODY. They generally do not apply to pre-custody questioning such as when a cop comes to the a scene to investigate and is asking questions trying to figure out who did what. “In custody” does not necessarily mean in handcuffs or at the police station. It could be somewhere else. The test of whether someone is “in custody” is based upon the particular circumstances and whether that person was free to leave. A person only has to be notified of these rights just prior to the questioning, not at the time of the arrest.
As fuel prices soar, the airline industry is taking action to ensure its financial survival in the short term. However, will these short-term decisions end up hurting airlines in the long run? In a recent interview with Ted Simons, our aviation law attorney Mike Pearson weighed in on what rising jet fuel costs could end up meaning for both Arizona airline passengers and the industry as a whole.
We’ve already seen changes at a consumer level, including:
- Higher airfare
- Charges for baggage
- Changes in carry-on luggage
- Smaller aircraft with fewer seats
- Changes in “peak days” for frequent flier miles
- Cutting of some air routes
Many experts believe this will only continue to get worse, and airline passengers can expect to be paying more for what once was complimentary. Mike Pearson agrees that the situation is bad, and that it will probably get worse. Pearson said that these types of changes may help the airlines now, but that, in the long term, these changes could keep many leisure travelers out of the air and looking for different ways to get from point A to point B. Pearson points out that many airlines have started cutting the number of seats available in order to drive up fares and keep planes full, but that there are only so many seats an airline can cut. With long-term survival in mind, many airlines are looking to mergers, moving toward what Pearson calls a “natural oligopoly.” Several airlines have either already completed mergers or are looking in that direction. Unless we see a quick reduction in the price of fuel, these significant changes will probably only get worse for the consumers.
A report showing a huge spike in reported air traffic controller errors has some passengers worried about the safety of passenger flights, and Congress is looking to take action. Reported errors have nearly doubled, rising from 947 reported errors in 2009 to 1900 reported errors in 2010. But don’t cancel your flight just yet. Tempe aviation lawyer Mike Pearson has stated that those numbers could be misleading due to a few changes in the airline industry and the air traffic controller profession.
Pearson acknowledges human error is inevitable; thousands of planes carry passengers each day, and there is a lot that could potentially go wrong. Even though air traffic controllers are always observed closely on the job by several sets of eyes, mistakes can happen. But human error may not be solely responsible for the spike in reported errors. Pearson points to a memo released by the FAA last year, which changed the rules for reporting errors and sought to remove the fear of punishment associated with reporting errors. What this means is that more errors—or even the potential for errors—can be reported without fear. So the spike could, in part, be due to more errors actually being reported rather than committed. Additionally, Pearson said that new technology being used by air traffic controllers to determine plane proximity could have also contributed to the rise.
Pearson states firmly that passengers should not be afraid to board a plane due to these numbers. And, although the number of reported errors has risen, only a small percentage of those errors were categorized as serious.
The law firm of Curry, Pearson & Wooten serves the community as Arizona trial lawyers, aviation attorneys, personal injury lawyers, family lawyers, and criminal defense attorneys. We would be happy to speak with you today about your legal needs and answer your questions. Give us a call today at 1-888-929-5292, and schedule a completely free, no-pressure consultation with one of our friendly and knowledgeable attorneys.
Tempe aviation law expert Mike Pearson was recently featured on FOX Business News and discussed the looming shortage of air traffic controllers as the FAA attempts to fill positions. Mike Pearson has 27 years of experience as an air traffic controller, law professor, and active trial lawyer, and he reminds us that this is not the first time we’ve seen a shortage of air traffic controllers. Pearson cites the aftermath of the 1981 air traffic controller strike as an example, and he believes that the concern about these empty positions might be a bit uncalled for at this point.
One major concern has been that many of the air traffic controller slots have opened as older and more experienced air traffic controllers have retired. Some are worried that the growing number of younger and less experienced workers in the industry could cause problems as they learn on their feet. However, Pearson said that most of the air traffic controllers hired after the 1981 strike had very little experience to begin with and, of course, many of those workers now make up the highly experienced group that has reached retirement age. Ultimately, the new air traffic controllers filling the empty seats will gain the same experience and skill over time—and always under a watchful eye.
The law firm of Curry, Pearson & Wooten is made up of highly experienced and compassionate Arizona personal injury lawyers, criminal defense lawyers, and family law attorneys who are ready to address your concerns and help you navigate the legal system. If you would like to speak with a Tempe aviation lawyer or personal injury lawyer, give us a call today at 1-888-929-5292 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
News of a potential merger between United and US Airways has some Arizona residents concerned about job cutbacks and sky-rocketing fares. Our very own Mike Pearson, who has almost 30 years of experience as a Tempe aviation law attorney, professor, and air traffic controller, spoke with Ted Simons recently about what the merger might mean for airline consumers locally.
We already know that the economy and rising cost of fuel has many airlines struggling to cut routes and sometimes jobs; however, this has also led many airlines to seek mergers to survive. We’ve seen more airline mergers recently, such as Delta and Northwest, and United itself had considered a merger with Continental not all that long ago. Although the merger between United and US Airways is becoming a stronger possibility—some say a probability at this point—much will depend on both businesses and anti-trust scrutiny. US Airways is still in the process of transitioning after its recent merger with America West.
What does all of this mean for Tempe? The potential loss of a Fortune 500 company is worrying; Pearson has said that we could see job cuts, especially at the administrative and corporate levels. Since United is the larger company, Pearson says it seems likely that they will keep their corporate headquarters in Chicago if the merger goes through. However, Pearson also says that nothing is certain at this point, and the business decisions of both companies will figure highly into the final outcome.
Regarding the potentially higher fares after the merger, Pearson did mention that competition with economy airline Southwest should help keep fares more reasonable despite the change in supply and demand.
If you have questions about Tempe aviation law, or if you are looking for a skilled Arizona personal injury lawyer, give Curry, Pearson & Wooten a call today at 1-888-929-5292 to schedule a completely free consultation and request your FREE copy of one of our many helpful books.
Why Pro Bono?
By: Daniel Riley, Esq.
October 23-29 is National Pro Bono Week, and the Bar Association has asked attorneys to share their pro bono experiences. Rather than donate yet another “war story,” I’ve decided to explain why I do pro bono work. I donate legal services, because I know what it’s like to not have a voice.
At age six, I was held back at Berthoud Elementary School, because my teacher thought I was illiterate. To be fair to her, it was a reasonable assumption. Every day, she would arrange the class in an arc and hand a book to the student at one end. Slowly, the book would pass from student to student, as each took a turn reading aloud. As the book moved closer toward me, my anxiety would reach a crescendo. When it was finally passed to my shaking hands, I would stare at the page without uttering a word and refuse to meet my teacher’s stare.
In reality, I had no trouble reading. Books were strewn around every corner of my room at home on account of my librarian grandmother. Almost all my free time was spent at an abandoned grain mill across town, reading books in silence. Hidden behind tall grass in the overgrown lot surrounding the old grain mill, I would read for hours. I loved books. My favorite was a series by Eleanor Cameron, about two boys who built a spaceship and left Earth to rescue a far off planet.
The reason I couldn’t read aloud in class was that I was too ashamed of my own voice. What my teacher didn’t know was that I was a severe stutterer. When I was told I would have to repeat first grade, I resolved to make an effort to speak in class. Yet, no matter how often I raised my hand, I was rarely – if ever – called on. Few of my teachers bothered to hide their exasperation with this boy who croaked out shaky consonants, oozed vowels laboriously, and constructed long convoluted sentences just to avoid pronouncing a particular word. Eventually, I found that there were only two activities I could do without stuttering: I could sing, and I could speak to animals. Unfortunately, neither helped me much in school.
By the third grade, I had given up on the notion that I would ever speak normally, and I began to look with increasing envy at my classmates, who made the everyday task of communicating seem so easy. Without the ability to speak fluidly, I couldn’t join in conversations. As Colin Firth said in his role as the stammering Prince Albert in The King’s Speech, timing was not my strong suit. I could think of a witty remark, but I couldn’t say it.”
At age ten, I began attending Helen Baller Elementary, in Camas, Washington. The second week of class, an adult walked into my teacher’s room and handed her a note. My teacher motioned for me, and when I approached, she said, “This nice lady is going to take you to the office.” My mind raced, as I thought of what I could have done to merit a trip to the office. Betraying nothing, the lady with the note led me silently. My heart sank as we approached the principal’s office, but then we past it and walked further down the hallway, to a door I’d never seen before. A tall woman was seated inside. As I entered, she stood and reached out to shake my hand, saying, “I’m Miss Elizabeth, and I’m a speech therapist.”
The first thing Miss Elizabeth asked me to do was recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I stammered, “I P-p-p…” Anxiety and embarrassment flooded my brain. I expected her to tell me to “Just spit it out” any second, but instead, she politely smiled and asked me to take a deep breath and just take one word at a time. I took a breath. “I.” Another breath. “P-pledge.” The anxiety evaporated, replaced with a cautious optimism. “I can do this?” I thought to myself.
I had no idea what a speech therapist was, until I started seeing Miss Elizabeth every day. After the first year, I’d built enough confidence to do something that had been unimaginable to me before speech therapy: I tried out for the school play. Not only did I get a part – I was the narrator! I had more lines than anyone else. The night before the play, I didn’t sleep at all. I was terrified that I would get on stage and stutter through my lines. My dad could sense that I was nervous, and he got his best tie from his closet and helped me put it on. Of course, it was too big, and the skinny end hung down below my waist. My dad fetched a pair of scissors and cut off the end. “It’s yours now,” he told me. “You’re going to do great.” It turns out, he was right. That night, for the first time in my life, I stood in front of a group of people, and I spoke.
Every stutterer wishes for one thing: A voice. I spent the first ten years of my life without one. Every time I made a wish for a voice of my own, I promised that I would use it to give a voice to others. Pro bono work allows me to fulfill that promise. Pro bono is a truncation of the Latin phrase, pro bono publico, or “for the public good.” Pro bono clients cannot afford an attorney. They are often the most disadvantaged members of our society. Their voices have been silenced in some way – perhaps by an abuser, the loss of a job, or some other twist of fate. When attorneys agree to represent clients pro bono, they provide a voice to the voiceless, and that is truly the highest good that can be done for one’s community.
To this day, I occasionally go through bouts of disfluency. And no matter how many years pass, I think I will always feel that familiar moment of panic every time I’m in court, walking up to the podium. But I continue, because of that promise I repeated every night for the first years of my life. Miss Elizabeth gave me my voice, and as long as I am able, I will use it to give a voice to others.
This website contains general information that does not replace specific legal counsel and, as such, should not be taken as legal advice for any subject matter. Due to the variances in jurisdictional law, such as the location and specific circumstances of a legal matter, the information contained in this website should not be taken as strict legal counsel since it does not, and cannot, apply to all variants of jurisdictional law. No readers of this website should pursue legal means, or choose not to, based solely upon the information contained on this website without also seeking legal counsel from a licensed attorney in their state. Furthermore, Curry, Pearson & Wooten, PLC denies liability for actions taken, or not, based on all, or any, of the contents of this site. Additionally, this website contains broad information that may not show the latest in legal developments, settlements, or verdicts.
Communications sent by email or through this website to Curry, Pearson & Wooten, PLC by a client or other party are sent with the knowledge that the communication channel is not secure and not confidential. Furthermore, sending a communication via email or this website, or viewing this website, does not constitute nor imply the existence of an attorney-client relationship. Curry, Pearson & Wooten, PLC policy dictates that an attorney-client relationship will only exist after a formal, written letter of engagement has been signed by both a Curry, Pearson & Wooten, PLC authorized member and the client.
Links to other websites, including third-party websites, are included on this website to benefit the reader; however, this does not imply the linked site’s functionality, or an endorsement of the third-party site, its creator, or its content.
This website and the contents it contains are “AS IS” without any kind of warranty, either implied or expressed, permitting but not limited to the implied warranties of fitness for a particular purpose, merchantability, or non-infringement.
Curry, Pearson & Wooten, PLC does not desire to represent a reader or client in a state where this website does not comply with all of the ethical rules and laws of that state.
Reproducing, distributing, republishing, and/or retransmitting any or all of the content of this website is expressly prohibited by Curry, Pearson & Wooten, PLC unless prior written approval has been obtained from Curry, Pearson & Wooten, PLC.