BEST OF 2015

Legally Speaking: The top seven Arizona legal cases of 2015

Jan 7, 2016, 10:14 AM | Updated: Jan 8, 2016, 4:33 pm

In this post, I wanted to take a look back at the top legal stories that happened in 2015, both nationally and here in Arizona.

Mike Russell and I broke these cases down on a special edition of Legally Speaking.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

America’s Toughest Sheriff had a very tough year, to say the least, and is likely happy that 2015 is over. Arpaio found himself the subject of contempt proceedings in front of Federal District Court Judge Murray Snow that lasted the majority of the year. The good news is that the hearing is over, the bad news is that we still don’t know the decision. That is coming in 2016.

Medical marijuana

ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, DEC. 27--In this photograph Taken Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, a bud tender holds two marijuana buds on his fingers on the way to a customer at the Denver Kush Club in north Denver. A marijuana banking case set for arguments Monday will test the federal government's stated goal of addressing the cash-only nature of the quasi-legal pot industry. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Medical marijuana is here and is not going up in smoke anytime soon. With its legalization comes a multitude of issues for Arizonans, including its connection to DUIs, probation violations and whether you can get fired from your job for smoking it. Changes are coming.

Freeway shootings

(Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool, File)

(Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool, File)

August 2015 was a scary month for freeway travelers in Maricopa County. Seemingly random shootings of vehicles kept many off the freeways, encouraged copy cats and incited fear. Someone was arrested, but only for four of the 11 shootings. What is going to happen to the alleged shooter Leslie Allen Merrit Jr.? And what about the other seven incidents?

Refugee crisis

 Stranded migrants, await entry into Macedonia on the Greek side of the border photographed through a fence from Macedonian side of the border, near the southern Macedonian town of Gevgelija, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. Greek riot police struggled to maintain order on Friday after clashes between asylum-seekers at the country's border with Macedonia. Macedonia is allowing only people from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria to cross the border, and groups of people from other nationalities have set up makeshift roadblocks, preventing anyone from crossing. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

(AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

The Syrian refugee crisis dominated part of the news cycle along with presidential campaign speeches. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey decided to get involved and speak up for us, or did he? Contrary to many wishes, Arizona may not have the legal grounds to refuse refugees.


(AP Photos)

(AP Photos)

Who can forget the bad girlfriends and mothers of the criminal court system in 2015? Two were convicted, one sentence was overturned and one just did it all wrong.

The death penalty conundrum in Arizona

 FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2014, file photo, Department of Corrections officials look through a window from the witness room, at right, outside the newly renovated death chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla. Even as President Barack Obama tries to make a hard case for sentencing reform, prisoner rehabilitation and confronting racial bias in policing, he has been less clear about the death penalty. Obama has hinted that his support for capital punishment is eroding, but he has refused to discuss what he might call for. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

The death penalty continues to drain Arizona of resources and credibility. We have had to deal with finding new and legal drugs, a botched execution and the inevitable legal challenges that come along with those. Then, top it all off with the federal government suing us because the state allegedly imported the drugs illegally!

Glendale and the Arizona Coyotes

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

Can’t they just get along? The answer is no! The city of Glendale dropped a bombshell on the Coyotes when it decided to cancel its contract with the team.  This led to a fast and furious court battle that was thought to have resolved everything. Well, it didn’t.

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Legally Speaking: The top seven Arizona legal cases of 2015