Welcome to Courthouse Update, a weekly rundown of goings-on at the Maricopa County Superior Court.
This week, an attorney pleads guilty to driving away from the scene after driving over a woman, an accountant heads to prison, CNN tries to keep cameras on the Jodi Arias trial, and more:
- Attorney pleads guilty to leaving the scene of DUI collision
Aimee Butel, a Valley attorney and former Maricopa County medical examiner, was accused of running over and killing a woman lying in a roadway while driving drunk, then driving away. The woman Butel hit was lying naked in the road near 34th Street and Thomas Road, but Butel drove away after hitting her. Butel pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an injury collision and a misdemeanor count of DUI. Her sentencing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on October 30.
Next page: Accountant headed to prison
- Accountant headed to prison for cookin' the books
West Valley accountant Michelle Hice was fired from an accounting firm about a year ago, after the IRS informed one of Hice's clients that they didn't file taxes. That client turned over the books to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, which discovered that Hice wrote checks to herself for $130,000. Hice was also making about $300 a month over five months doing accounting for a church, but when investigators subpoenaed Hice's bank statements, they found out she had made $25,000 -- thanks to checks she wrote to herself, according to the Sheriff's Office. When she was arrested, she had a gun in her possession, which was a no-no for Hice, who was already on probation for a similar crime. Hice took a plea deal, in which she pleaded guilty to misconduct involving weapons, fraudulent schemes, and theft. She was sentenced by Judge Robert Gottsfield to 11 years in prison, followed by three years of probation.
Next page: Murderer gets 18 years
- Steven Lomax Jr. headed to prison for killing sister's husband
Steven Lomax Jr. shot and killed his sister's husband, Richard Swann, on Easter Sunday this year. Lomax claimed that Swann physically and verbally abused his sister. As part of a plea deal, Lomax pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Judge Daniel Kiley sentenced Lomax to 18 years in prison.
Next page: Attorney wants live coverage in Arias sentencing
- Attorney argues for live coverage of Jodi Arias sentencing
This week, media attorney David Bodney argued to allow CNN to cover the sentencing phase of the Jodi Arias trial. Arias' attorneys have been trying to keep cameras out of the courtroom for the re-do on the sentencing. Arias was convicted of murder, but jurors were deadlocked on the death penalty, forcing a mistrial on the sentencing.
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