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What is Voir Dire

What is voir dire & why is it important?

Voir dire is the process of questioning potential jurors to determine whether they are fit to serve as jurors for a particular trial. For Arizona lawyers, the goal of the voir dire process is to ensure that no members of the jury harbor biases that could jeopardize the outcome of the case.

Without a strategic, well-prepared voir dire process, you run the risk of starting from behind with the jury when the trial begins.

The voir dire process

Each judge in Arizona handles the Voir Dire process differently but the process typically looks like this:

  1. Potential jurors are randomly selected from a pool of people who show up for jury duty.
  2. The judge asks standard questions to ensure that everyone is capable of serving on a jury. For example, if they’re a U.S. citizen, don’t have any hardships that would prevent them from sitting through the entire trial, etc.
  3. After those who are deemed incapable are excused, the Arizona attorneys deliver a mini-opening where they offer a 3-5 minute overview of the case.
  4. Following the mini-openings, both Arizona attorneys ask questions of the remaining potential jurors to determine bias.
  5. Following the questioning period, the Arizona attorneys can request that potential jurors be removed with cause of potential bias, with the judge holding the power to deny the requests.
  6. Arizona attorneys also have the right to reject a limited number of potential jurors without cause. The attorneys may feel these individuals have potential biases, but aren’t able to fully justify their feelings to the judge.

CDC Bans (Some) Evictions

cdc order is extended to march 31, 2021!

On September 1, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) released an Order titled “Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19” (the “Order”).  The Order was originally effective from Friday, September 4, 2020, and was set to expire on December 31, 2020. However, the CDC issued a statement extending the ban on evictions for non-payment of rent through March 31, 2021. 

CDC EVICTION ORDER APPLIES TO ALL 50 STATES

This Order applies to all states without an existing eviction moratorium providing “the same or greater level of public-health protection” than the Order’s requirements. The Order will apply in Arizona because the Order provides greater protection than Governor Ducey’s Executive Order halting the execution of writs of restitution.

Based on the Order’s language, I believe a landlord can still serve a 5-day non-payment of rent notice and even file an eviction action for non-payment in court, but if the tenant presents the landlord with the declaration, the writ of restitution could not be executed and the tenant could not be removed from the property. Unfortunately, however, we do not know this for sure.  

It is possible the Order was intended to prohibit even the filing of an eviction action, this is a question that will likely need clarification from the Arizona Supreme Court.

CDC ORDER IS limited TO NON-PAYMENT

The Order only applies to cases involving non-payment of rent.  It does not prohibit evictions based on criminal activity; threats to health and safety of others; damaging or posing an “immediate and significant” risk of damage to property; violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or violating other contractual obligations. I believe, based on the Order’s language, that non-renewals will still be permissible—although this is just an initial opinion.

ARIZONA TENANT’S DECLARATION OF PROTECTION

To invoke the Order’s protection, the tenant must provide their landlord with a Declaration stating that:

  1. The tenant has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing; 
  2. The tenant either: (i) expects to earn not more than $99,000.00 in annual income in 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing jointly); (ii) was not required to report any income to the IRS in 2019; or (iii) received a stimulus check pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act; 
  3. The tenant is unable to pay the full rent because of substantial income loss, loss of compensable work hours or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses; 
  4. The tenant is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as their circumstances permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; and 
  5. An eviction would likely render the tenant homeless or force them to move into close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting because the individual has no other housing options. 

Note, landlords do not get to verify the information in the affidavit, the tenant is protected by simply signing the declaration and delivering it to the landlord! Additionally, this Order applies to ALL types of residential rental properties: houses, buildings, mobile homes, land in a mobile home park, or similar dwellings leased for residential purposes.

SEVERE PUNISHMENT FOR VIOLATing THE ORDER

The Order states that the U.S. Department of Justice may initiate court proceedings against landlords for violations. Penalties for violating the Order are extreme; they are both criminal and financial. For individual landlords: If the violation does not result in a death, the penalty is a fine of not more than $100,000 or one year in jail, or both; If the violation results in a death, the penalty is a fine of not more than $250,000 or one year in jail, or both; 

SUMMARY of cdc’s eviction order

For now, it appears we can proceed with eviction filings. However, if a resident provides a signed declaration or attestation—that even closely resembles what is required in the Order—immediately stop all eviction action.

If you are an Arizona landlord and have questions about how the CDC’s new Order applies to your rental properties then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-389-6529 or message us HERE.

Unfortunately, things for Arizona landlords have become even more difficult in the past few weeks. Until a few weeks ago Arizona landlords could evict a tenant for wrongfully holding over. If a landlord sent a 30-day notice to terminate the lease of someone who is on a month to month tenancy or at the end of their lease However, the courts are now denying evictions in situations where the tenant is behind on rent and the landlord serves a 30-day notice to terminate the tenancy. Judges see these evictions off a 30-day notice as a roundabout way of evicting tenants because they are behind on rent.

Eviction Granted if the Property is to be Sold or Landlord Occupancy

A landlord must show that there is a reason to evict other than simple wrongful holdover. However, where a tenant has wrongfully held over and the landlord is going to sell rental property or move into it. If you intend to sell or move into the property then you would fit that exception.

Eviction Because of Failure to Properly Maintain the Property

While I understand that some tenants may not be good stewards of your property, rarely does their behavior reaches a levels so atrocious that a judge would evict them based off of improperly maintaining the yard. Maybe under normal circumstances but not in this era of COVID.

If you are an Arizona landlord and have questions about how the CDC’s new Order applies to your rental properties then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-389-6529 or message us HERE.

Gov. Ducey: Some Evictions

Governor Ducey Extends COVID-19 Eviction Protection until October 31, 2020

Governor Doug Ducey today signed an Executive Order extending a moratorium on residential evictions–for non-payment of rent–until October 31, 2020, providing continued protections for renters who are facing economic hardship as a result of COVID-19. The order ensures renters impacted by COVID-19 will be able to stay in their homes while extending the time to access rental assistance programs.

not granted to all arizona tenants

Governor Ducey’s executive order protects Arizona tenants from eviction if they have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. For example, they’ve been laid-off, had their hours reduced, actually had COVID-19 or someone else in the house has. The executive order comes into play after the entire eviction process is complete and a writ of restitution is filed to remove the tenants. If the constable goes to the property to remove the tenants but decides that they are protected under the Governor’s exemption.

motion to compel enforcement

If the constable won’t remove the tenants from your property then we have to file a Motion to Compel. With this motion we are asking the judge to order the tenants removed. A special hearing will be set. At this hearing, tenants can provide evidence and testimony showing that they fall under Ducey’s exemption and they should stay in the house. We will then be given the opportunity to explain why they are not exempted and should be removed. If the judge rules in our favor the constable will remove the tenants. However, if the judge rules in their favor they can’t be removed until the executive order expires, October 31, 2020

If you are wondering how Governor Ducey’s Executive Order is impacting your landlord – tenant situation then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-389-6529 or message us HERE.

*** VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE: THIS WAS SUPERCEDED BY THE CDC’S STAY ON EVICTION***

FAA Waiver Statistics

The FAA has Granted more than 4000 Part 107 Waivers

INCREASED FAA APPROVAL OF UAS WAIVERS

Since the implementation of Part 107 of title 14 of the code of Federal Regulations, also known as the small unmanned aircraft systems UAS rule. It created a regulatory framework that enabled civilian and commercial operators of UAS. UAS weighing 55 lbs. or less.

Generally, Part 107 requires operators to fly under 400 feet above ground level, within visual line of sight (VLOS) and only during daylight hours. UAS operators who want to fly outside the requirements of Part 107, such as to conduct beyond line of sight or nighttime operations, may request a waiver from the FAA.

Almost four years later, the FAA has granted more than 4000 waivers to UAS pilots in all 50 states. The number of FAA waivers granted per quarter reached an initial peak in the beginning of 2017 as pilots vied to be the first to fly under these new regulations. However, as the FAA worked through the backlog, the approval rate rapidly declined by the end of the year since then, the number of waivers issued per quarter has steadily increased with a historic peak in the first quarter of 2020.

MAJORITY OF WAIVERS ALLOW UAS FLIGHTS AT NIGHT

Almost 95% of currently active waivers enable UAS flights at night. The other 5% allow more advanced flight profiles like those over people, in excess of 100 mph, higher than 400 feet above ground level, under limited flight visibility, or with decreased distance relative to clouds.

FAA waivers can also modify the ground control requirements, thus enabling an operator to concurrently control multiple UAS, to fly without the required visual observer support to control the aircraft from a moving vehicle. Waivers are granted to “responsible individuals” who may or may not be linked to an associated organization on the waiver permit. Nearly 57% of waivers are granted to an individual with an associated organization. Businesses that operate UAS for financial gain are categorized as service organizations and account for over 72% of waivers granted to individuals associated with an organization many of these businesses offer aerial imaging solutions for a range of applications including real estate, landscape photography, infrastructure inspections, and agriculture environmental surveys.

MAJORITY OF WAIVERS ARE FOR FIRST RESPONDERS OR SMALL COMPANIES

First responders comprise 19% of the organizations granted waivers most of which enable nighttime operations for search and rescue or firefighting. More than 87% of entities granted a Part 107 exemption generate less than $1,000,000 in annual revenue. As such, it is important that the waiver process be standardized and easy to navigate to ensure that small businesses with minimal resources are able to take advantage of the benefits enabled by advanced operations.

If your organization needs a Part 107 Waiver then contact the Unmanned Aviation Systems Law Center at 623-252-6884 or message us HERE.

Government Risk in Space

What is the American Government’s Risk Exposure to Private Space Launches?

Under the “Convention on the International liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects” (the “Convention”) the United States faces liability for damage caused by any “object” launched from American soil, even if launched by private entity.

The preamble to the Convention states:
Recognizing the need to elaborate effective international rules and procedures concerning liability for damage caused by space objects and to ensure, in particular, the prompt payment under the terms of this Convention of a full and equitable measure of compensation to victims of such damage,

Believing that the establishment of such rules and procedures will contribute to the strengthening of international co-operation in the field of the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.

space x rocket crashes
Space X SN9 exploded on impact during an attempted landing.

The pertinent Articles of the Convention state:
Article I. For the purposes of this Convention:
(c) The term “launching State” means: (ii) a state from whose territory or facility a space object is launched.

Article II.
A launching State shall be absolutely liable to pay compensation for damage caused by its space object on the surface of the earth or to aircraft in flight.

Article VIII.
A State which suffers damage, or whose natural or juridical persons suffer damage, may present to a launching State a claim for compensation for such damage.

The plain language of the Convention makes it clear that the U.S. government is liable for damage caused by any object launched into space from its soil—even if the object was launched by a private entity!

In 1978 a faulty Soviet Union satellite prematurely reentered the atmosphere causing radioactive debris to scatter over northern Canada. This accident was an environmental disaster and required extensive cleanup that became known as Operation Morning Light. Canada billed the Soviet Union a little more than C$6M of which they eventually paid C$3 million.

Unintended Consequences

As the cost of launching objects into space decreases, the number of launches by private entities will continue to increase. For instance, there are dozens of small, privately held companies that have launched hundreds of satellites into space. Additionally, companies are preparing to launch civilians into space. As the number of launches increase, so do the odds of an accident for which the U.S. government would be responsible. I do not believe that signatories to the Convention intended to be liable for the actions of individuals who launched objects from their soil and so a change needs to be made. Private Unmanned Aviation Systems insurance should be required by the FAA.

Conclusion

This issue is relevant to every country in the world, whether they are launching objects into space or not and either a change needs to be made or a conscientious decision to take on the risk must be made.

Contact the Dunaway Law Group for help with your UAS needs at 623-252-6884 or message us HERE.