The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
Maintaining a blog for paralegals is a little like opening a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get when you pull up the most recent news stories. I’ll admit that both eyebrows touched my hairline when I saw the Associated Press news article, “Legal Assistant Accused of Plotting Gang Hit.”
Margaret Alvarado, employed as a legal assistant by the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office since 2007, “was charged with a count each of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, solicitation of first-degree murder, telecommunication fraud and two counts of assisting a criminal street gang.”
The allegations arise from an undercover investigation during which authorities recorded telephone conversations between Alvarado and an informant. She is accused of trying to kill a gang member who had cooperated with police and was getting ready to be released from prison. (She is also accused of joking about “the hit” during the phone conversations).
Court documents also show that Alvarado was aiding and facilitating gang members from the Public Defender’s Office where she works as a legal assistant.
Alvarado would accept collect calls from Arizona Mexican Mafia members currently in prison, then look up information for them on her computer.
Detectives say after Alvarado was arrested, she admitted to accepting calls from known gang members as well as meeting with the undercover officer.
Alvarado is currently incarcerated in lieu of a $300,000.00 bond, and faces life in prison if convicted. The Public Defender’s office is listing her as being on administrative leave while it conducts its own investigation. But I suspect, for you Phoenix legal professionals interested in getting on with the Public Defender’s office, there will be a job posting for a legal assistant in the near future.