Pro-Pot Activist Billy Hayes Faces Serious Prison Time but Doesn't Know When to Quit

Andrew Pielage
Billy Hayes
Billy Benjamin Hayes Jr., 39, is one of the state's most vocal marijuana activists.

Few people welcomed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act when voters passed it in 2010 more than Hayes. The lanky father of three is a marijuana enthusiast, a grower for nearly his whole life who imbibes regularly, whether by smoking, vaporizing, or eating.

His name often is seen in Internet forums of the Arizona Department of Health Services, the agency that oversees the medical-marijuana program. Having learned just enough law to be dangerous during an eight-month stint in prison on a marijuana-possession violation, he's sued the federal government (unsuccessfully) over the law's 
"25-mile rule," which limits where patients can grow marijuana, and helps his pro bono pot-activist lawyer, Tom Dean, write court motions.

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Green Acre Lynch Mob: Joe Arpaio Leads Media and Public on Mission of Vengeance Against Jeff Flake's Son

Dennis Gilman; Gage Skidmore
Montgomery caved to emotion in the Green Acre case, Arpaio has skillfully exploited it.

I rarely look to politicians for common sense, but I thought Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery had stumbled onto some at a press conference in September, when he addressed the situation at the Green Acre Dog Boarding facility in Gilbert.

Montgomery explained that he'd just received the voluminous results of an investigation by the Sheriff's Office into the deaths of more than 20 dogs at the business in June. Hyperthermia and suffocation have been offered as reasons for the deaths.

The canines expired after getting left overnight in a locked, crowded room where the air conditioner was not working properly.

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Arizona's Biggest Companies Graded on LGBT Equality

Categories: News

The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT civil-rights organization, today released its grades of LGBT equality at nearly 1,000 of the nation's largest corporations, including several in Arizona.

While more than 300 companies across the country earned a perfect score for the LGBT-related policies they have in place, none of those companies is based in Arizona. The top-scoring Arizona businesses were U.S. Airways and the Snell & Wilmer law firm, both of which earned scores of 90 out of 100.

Liz Halloran, a spokeswoman for the HRC, tells New Times that the scores for Arizona companies -- an average of 78 -- are still "absolutely" a good sign.

"It indicates that these companies have some good, inclusive policies in place," she says.

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Sky Harbor Airport Passenger Found With 92 Pounds of Weed in Checked Luggage

One of the weed bags ready to fly to Pittsburgh.
A passenger on a flight out of Phoenix's Sky Harbor airport tried to check luggage containing 92 pounds of marijuana, according to the TSA.

A TSA spokesman says the Phoenix Police Department was contacted once agents made the discovery.

According to court documents obtained by New Times, 39-year-old Lauretta Blanton had actually spread the load among three checked bags, and two of the bags actually made it onto the plane.

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Arizona's Unauthorized Immigrant Population Decreasing

Gordon Hyde
Arizona is one of 14 states where the population of unauthorized immigrants decreased from 2009 to 2012, according to data released today by the Pew Research Center.

According to the organization's analysis, Arizona's unauthorized immigrant population dropped from around 350,000 people to 300,000 people. Only New York and California had larger decreases.

"There were really big drops in the number of unauthorized Mexicans in the country between 2007 and 2009, and since then, there have continued to be decreases in the Mexican population," Pew Research Center demographer Jeffrey Passel tells New Times.

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Phoenix Cop's Suicide Has City Leaders Looking at Police PTSD Issues

Categories: News

The suicide of Phoenix police officer Craig Tiger has city management taking a look at its policies and training regarding post-traumatic stress disorder issues.

City Manager Ed Zuercher has announced the assembly of a panel to review the city's policies, at the request of the police unions, which have blasted Police Chief Daniel Garcia for his handling of Tiger's case.

The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) and the Phoenix Police Sergeants and Lieutenants Association (PPSLA) announced Monday that they're going to hold votes of no confidence against Garcia. PLEA president Joe Clure said Garcia has "zero credibility" with Phoenix police officers on the issue of PTSD.

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Phoenix Police Union Calls for No-Confidence Vote Against "Tyrant" Police Chief Daniel Garcia

Categories: News

The unions that represent Phoenix police officers are ready to get rid of Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia.

The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) and the Phoenix Police Sergeants and Lieutenants Association (PPSLA) announced today that they're going to hold votes of no confidence against Garcia. The unions have had various complaints about Garcia over the past few years, and they say the recent suicide of Officer Craig Tiger was the last straw.

"The men and women who daily serve the citizens of this community and who daily put themselves in harm's way deserve a true leader that understands the concept of servant leadership," PLEA president Joe Clure says. "Not a tyrant that uses intimidation and bullying tactics and whose idea of leadership is coming up with new programs, gimmicks, and catch-phrases every other month."

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10 Stereotypes About Phoenix That Are Totally True

Categories: List This

There are stereotypes about every major American city, and in Phoenix, a whole lot of those stereotypes are actually true.

Below, find 10 Phoenix stereotypes that are (mostly) based on facts:

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Same-Sex Weddings Could Bring $54 Million to Arizona's Economy, Study Shows

Categories: News, The Gays

New Times photo illustration/photo Evie Carpenter

A study released this week argues that the legalization of same-sex marriage--and through it, the increased number of same-sex weddings--will bring an additional $54 million to Arizona's economy each year.

The study, conducted by the personal finance group NerdWallet, also found that same-sex marriage would bring more than $2.5 billion dollars to the national economy.

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Accused Child Molester Chris Simcox, ex-Employee of Doug Ducey's iMemories, Spurns Plea Offer, Wants to Go to Trial

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During a November 4 settlement conference before Judge Joseph Welty, presiding criminal judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court, Welty described in stark terms the situation faced by former minuteman leader Chris Simcox.

Charged with multiple counts of child molestation involving two little girls, one his own daughter, he can either accept a deal from the county attorney, plead guilty to attempted molestation, and do 7 to 10 years in prison, or he can proceed to trial and risk spending the rest of his life behind bars for committing dangerous crimes against children.

See also:
-Doug Ducey and the Stain of Simcox: Sources Say Accused Child Molester Chris Simcox Had Access to Families' Home Movies while Working for iMemories

Ever arrogant, even while dressed in jailhouse stripes, the man his enemies once mockingly called "the little prince" insisted that he have his day in court, despite the consequences or the fact minors will be compelled to testify against him.

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Arizona Law Denying Bail to Undocumented Immigrants Faces Dim Future

Categories: News

Matthew Hendley
Sheriff Joe Arpaio outside Tent City, where he decided to create a special segregated section for people in the country illegally.
Maricopa County Bill Montgomery was dealt another loss yesterday in his bid to keep alive Arizona's Proposition 100, the 2006 law that denies bail to undocumented immigrants accused of many crimes in the state.

Last month, a panel of judges from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found the voter-approved law unconstitutional, and yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it won't stay the lower court's ruling.

This refusal to block the overturning of Arizona's law means bail hearings for the undocumented in Arizona jails are likely coming soon.

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Jon Kyl Praised AG for Prosecuting Doug Ducey's Uncle

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Talk about a small world: In this 2006 C-SPAN clip, Kyl heralds the indictment of Doug Ducey's money-laundering uncle, William "Billy" Scott

Governor-elect Doug Ducey's recent announcement that former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl will chair his transition committee offers a delicious mix of irony and hypocrisy.

See, while he was in the Senate, Kyl was known for his fervent opposition to all forms of Internet gambling. More than once during his 18 years as a Senator, he attempted to legislate a total ban on the virtual vice.

And yet, Kyl's proven an enthusiastic supporter of Ducey, the scion of an infamous Toledo, Ohio organized crime family named "Scott," which for decades was involved in illegal gambling, bookmaking, racketeering and other illicit activities.

In fact, Ducey's maternal uncle Billy Scott was an online gambling kingpin, who pleaded guilty in 2012 in federal court to international money laundering and violating the U.S. Wire Act.

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Video: Phoenix NASCAR Fans Discuss Proper Tailgating, Dish on Brad Keselowski

Categories: Sports

The penultimate race in this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season was held Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, where Kevin Harvick took the checkered flag.

New Times was there to get the fans' reactions on the important issues, like how to have a proper tailgate party, and who was in the wrong in the previous week's fight between drivers Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon.

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Maricopa County Mugshots of the Week: Gallery of Regret

At the end of the week, we bring you a roundup of visitors to the desert's own Fourth Avenue Jail. To be considered for our Maricopa County mugshots of the week, get arrested, strike a pose, and we'll take care of the rest.

This week, we're certain our inmates have a regret or two about the choices they've made. Enjoy.

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Reports of Obama Action on Immigration Not Stopping Rally at Phoenix ICE Office

Categories: News

Reports that President Obama soon will announce drastic changes to the country's immigration policies won't stop a protest against the administration's current policies.

Obama's plan, as reported by the New York Times, potentially could shield several million people from deportation, but an organizer with the Puente Human Rights Movement tells New Times that the news doesn't affect the group's protest planned for later today at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix.

"[Obama] hasn't made an announcement yet, and there have been previous times and a lot of rumors about Obama making a decision, and it's been delayed," Francisca Porchas says, adding, "We feel a great deal of responsibility, after so much work, for us to continue to push on him."

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Martha McSally Claims Victory Over Ron Barber in CD-2, but a Recount Is Coming

Categories: Election 2014

Republican congressional candidate Martha McSally.
In southern Arizona's Second Congressional District, Republican Martha McSally has claimed victory over Democratic Congressman Ron Barber, as a count of all the ballots has put McSally up 161 votes on Barber.

"All ballots are now counted and the voters have made their choice," McSally said in a statement. "We are so grateful for the outpouring of support we've seen from across Southern Arizona. My heartfelt thanks goes out to all the voters and everyone who knocked doors, stuffed envelopes, made calls, hosted events, donated to our campaign and put in the countless hours to make this victory possible."

One minor detail: There's going to be a recount.

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Shanesha Taylor Stiffs New Lawyer on Fees, Is Assigned a Public Defender

Categories: Bad Parents

Shanesha Taylor's second, non-crying, mugshot.
A judge has allowed two private lawyers to quit representing child-abuse suspect Shanesha Taylor, and has assigned a public defender to her renewed felony case.

One of the lawyers says Taylor stiffed him on his fees.

The development is the latest in the failed deferred-prosecution deal for Taylor, who raised more than $114,000 from Internet supporters after her teary-eyed mugshot went viral.

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ASU Police Investigating Profoundly Strange Note Left on Student's Car

Categories: ASU

Nick Schweitzer
The Arizona State University Police Department is investigating a strange, vaguely threatening note left on a student's car.

The university confirmed the investigation but didn't release details about the note. However, a photo of a note said to have been left on an ASU sorority girl's car has been circulating on various social media websites.

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Human Rights Campaign: Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson "Lead the Way in LGBT Equality"

Categories: News

Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson "lead the way in LGBT equality" in Arizona, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

The HRC, an LGBT civil-rights organization, released its annual scorecards for American cities on LGBT equality issues, and the three aforementioned Arizona cities each received perfect scores of 100.

"In Arizona, while Governor Jan Brewer has been staunchly opposed to advances in LGBT equality, cities like Tempe, Tucson, and Phoenix are leading the way forward and not looking back," the organization says in a statement. "Tempe passed an anti-discrimination ordinance this year and in August amended its city charter to ban discrimination against LGBT city workers."

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Mesa Tea Party Hosts Bradlee Dean, Second Speaker in a Row Who Heads a Hate Group on the Southern Poverty Law Center's List

Categories: News, Teabagging

Bradlee Dean giving a prayer for the Minnesota House in 2011.

Last night, the Red Mountain Tea Party hosted its second speaker in a row who heads an organization found on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of hate groups.

Bradlee Dean, called an activist, author, and radio show host in fliers publicizing the event--and called "rabidly anti-gay" by the SPLC--presented to the Mesa Tea Party branch just two weeks after the group brought in New Yorker Pamela Geller, whose name made the SPLC list for her anti-Islamic views.

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