In Kaufmann v. State of Arizona, Division Two of the Arizona Court of Appeals
issued a decision yesterday involving a criminal case where the court
ordered the criminal defense attorney to pay the attorney's fees of
the prosecutor. The case involved a defendant who was charged with
possession of marijuana for sale and apparently cooperated with the police in connection with other investigations
in exchange for leniency. The defense lawyer requested that the prosecutor
be held in contempt of court for allegedly not honoring whatever agreement
had been reached.
The court found that the defense attorney's claims were baseless and
ended up hold him in contempt. As his punishment, the judge ordered him
to pay the prosecution $499 in legal fees to the prosecution. The attorney
filed a special action with the Arizona Court of Appeals who reversed
the order. The court reversed the order on the grounds that Arizona criminal
law does not permit a court to award attorney's fees as punishment
for a contempt finding.
Most criminal defense attorneys in Phoenix and throughout Arizona anticipate
that the judge will impose an alternative sentence against the lawyer
after the case is returned to the Superior Court.