LARRY A. HAMMOND
· PARTNER, OSBORN MALEDON; PHOENIX
· CRIMINAL DEFENSE: WHITE COLLAR,
CRIMINAL DEFENSE, CIVIL LITIGA TION:
· SOUTHWEST SUPER LAWYERS: 2007–2014;
TOP 50 ARIZONA: 2008–2010, 2013–2014
BY JIMMY MAGAHERN PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID SCHMIDT
Arizona Justice Project founder
Larry A. Hammond speaks
about the cases that have
RAY GIRDLER NEVER HAD A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY.
That would explain why, shortly after his wife gave birth to
their first baby in 1979, he boasted to friends that he had
found “a steal” in an 18-year-old, 50-foot mobile home he
bought for $2,750.
It also helps explain why, two years later, when that
trailer, with its old wiring and thin plywood paneling,
burned to the ground near Prescott, Ariz.—with his wife
and daughter trapped inside—prosecutors were able to
convince a jury that Girdler, unemployed and six months
behind on the trailer’s payments, had intentionally set the
fire to collect $6,400 in insurance.
Girdler’s meager resources were also at play in
assigning him a court-appointed public defender, who,
it was later discovered, overlooked critical data and
allowed several misinterpretations of the fire scene to
go unchallenged by prosecutors. Most damning was
the incorrect testimony by the state’s chief deputy fire
marshal that the fire could only have been started by a
deliberately splashed “liquid accelerant” like gasoline.