Today in a Phoenix, Arizona courtroom, Tracy Elise, the self-dubbed “Mystic
Mother” and founder of the Phoenix Goddess Temple was found guilty
on 22 separate counts including Conducting an Illegal Enterprise, Money
Laundering, and Prostitution. She will be sent to prison for a significant
amount of time when she is sentenced on April 8, 2016.
Phoenix Police conducted an extended investigation which showed that the
Temple, which professed itself to be a church, was actually a front for
prostitution whereby parishioners would tithe the church in exchange for
sex acts according to a set donation schedule established by Reverend
Elise. The Mystic Mother also attempted to get non-profit status for the
Temple, a move that could bring
federal tax fraud charges against her, assuming that any prosecutor really cares years down the
road after she completes her prison sentence.
A Defendant Who Self-Represents Has a Fool for a Client
Lawyers spend many years going through school and even more receiving on
the job experience.
Criminal defense lawyers who handle serious charges like money laundering and other white collar
crimes spend even longer learning this very specialized area of the law.
Elise, however, had no such training and made the foolish mistake to take
on prosecutors without having experienced counsel to guide her.
Elise claimed to a jury that the church’s actions were protected
as acts of religious freedom and that the consensual sex was part of the
religious rituals. She drank so much of her own Kool Aid, that she thought
that a jury would drink some too and buy into her beliefs. While previously
in the case, she did have a criminal defense attorney representing her,
the reality of the matter is that she didn’t want to listen, decided
to represent herself, and ended up with a fool for a client.
Also, no matter how good you think your defense is, it's a really bad
idea to finish your closing argument by bowing in front of the jury and
announcing "Namaste." (See photo above).
Don't Take the Law Into Your Own Hands
If you had a serious medical condition, you wouldn't do surgery on
yourself. You would leave it to a doctor who had the training and experience
to guide you through the situation. It's no different when you are
charged with a serious felony offense. You don't want to take the
law into your own hands and need to hire an experienced criminal defense
Jason Lamm is one of Arizona's best and has represented clients in state and
federal courtrooms for the last 20 years.
Contact him at (602) 663-9100 to set up a private and