Fact-checking Arizona Democrats’ claim that Abraham Hamadeh misled about his legal experience

Arizona’s Family

In his application for that county position, Hamadeh said that he prosecuted 10 misdemeanor bench trials and two misdemeanor jury trials for DUIs when he worked as legal intern for the Tucson City Prosecutor’s Office in 2015.

Valena Beety, a criminal law professor at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor School, said law students in Arizona can practice law in court as part of an externship or clinic if they are supervised by an attorney with an Arizona Bar license.

“Generally students don’t get to first chair a case; if they do, it would be for a minor fine or maybe a misdemeanor,” Beety said.

According to court records, Hamadeh worked on 27 criminal cases as a prosecutor. None of these cases went to trial, as the charges were either dismissed or the defendant pleaded guilty.

Beety, who also has experience as a federal prosecutor, added that lawyers can only be considered first chair if their case goes to trial. The pattern in Hamadeh’s cases is typical. According to research published by the Vera Institute of Justice in 2020, over 90% of convictions at the state and federal level come through plea bargains.