In re Hamm
Arizona Supreme Court
123 P.3d 652 (2005)
In 1974, James Hamm (defendant) committed two murders and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. Hamm was sentenced to life in prison, where he was a model prisoner. After being paroled in 1992, Hamm graduated from the Arizona State University College of Law. Hamm passed the July 1999 Arizona bar exam, but was denied admission to practice law by the Character and Fitness Committee (Committee). The Committee conducted a formal hearing in 2004 and considered testimony from Hamm, his wife, and three lawyers who had worked with Hamm, in addition to letters submitted in support and opposition of Hamm’s admission. Although Hamm told the Committee that he accepted responsibility for his prior crime, Hamm consistently assigned responsibility to his accomplice. Hamm also testified that he did not intend to kill his victims, even though the record showed otherwise. Moreover, Hamm failed to fulfill parental obligations to his son for over 30 years. Hamm did not make any attempt to provide for his son until 2004, when he applied for admission to practice law. Although Hamm told the Committee that his son had been adopted and refused Hamm’s support, his son testified more credibly to the contrary. Hamm also failed to truthfully answer a question on his Character and Fitness Report involving a physical altercation between him and his wife. The Committee concluded that Hamm had failed to establish the requisite character and fitness for admission to practice law. Hamm petitioned the Arizona Supreme Court for review. However, Hamm failed to properly cite to sources in his petition and refused to acknowledge that the conduct was improper.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (McGregor, C.J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 174,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.