Sunday, October 22, 2017

Adult Adoptions

Many people are surprised to hear that adults can be adopted and that turning 18 years old doesn’t necessarily preclude one from that much desired sense of permanency and family. The reasons for an adult adoption vary of course, but most often it’s the result of a close familial relationship that’s existed for years but was never legally formalized. Other reasons may include financial protection for the adult adoptee in the form of inheritance as well as health insurance and social security survivors’ benefits for the adult full-time student. In the State of Arizona, any adult may adopt another adult who is at least eighteen years old but not more than twenty-one years old. The adult person being adopted must also consent to the adoption and be a stepchild, grandchild, niece, nephew or cousin. This even extends to former foster children who were placed as juveniles in the home of the adopting adult and who’ve maintained a continuous familial relationship for five or more years. The court may choose to conduct an investigation requiring a designated person to submit a written report regarding the nature and length of the relationship, the competency of the adopting adult and the adoptee and a determination if the best interests of the parties would be served in granting the adult adoption. The court may even decide if there are interested parties that should be made aware of the adoption proceedings. There are other restrictions and rules of procedure that apply to adult adoptions of course. On the other hand, adult adoptions can be far less complicated than juvenile adoptions. The consent of parents, a government entity or that of any other person is not required in an adult adoption; only the consent of the adoptee is a prerequisite. The process could take several months; however, the judge’s final decree of adoption would most certainly bring significant resolution to a family’s desire for completeness. If you need help or legal assistance with an adult adoption, contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, now. Robert provides individual & personalized service through the adoption process. Contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, directly by email or by calling 480-860-4321 now for a free initial consultation.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Arizona’s Rules of Professional & Ethical Conduct

The State Bar of Arizona is investigating Maricopa County prosecutor Juan Martinez for possible ethical violations in the Jodi Arias case. His investigation reminds us that the Supreme Court of Arizona disbarred Maricopa County prosecutors Andrew Thomas and Lisa Aubuchon and suspended prosecutor Rachel Alexander based on the Presiding Disciplinary Judge’s Opinion and Order Imposing Sanctions dated April 10, 2012   The Hearing Panel headed by Judge William J. O’Neil thoroughly reviewed all the evidence and determined that Thomas, Aubuchon, and Alexander had violated several of the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct (abbreviated “ER”) found in Rule 42 of the Arizona Supreme Court Rules. The information below is taken from Rule 42 and the Opinion and Order. Many of the Rules of Professional Conduct can be found by visiting http://www.azbar.org/Ethics/RulesofProfessionalConduct/ ER 1.1 states that “A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client.” Thomas, Aubuchon, and Alexander violated ER 1.1 with the RICO Act lawsuit. ER 1.6(a) states that “A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent.” Thomas violated ER 1.6(a) with the statements in his June 14, 2006 press release on the Dowling and Keen matters. ER 1.7 (a)(1) and (a)(2) mandates that a lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of one client will be directly adverse to another client or there is a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person or by a personal interest of the lawyer. Thomas and Aubuchon violate ER 1.7(a)(1) in obtaining the Court Tour subpoena and with the RICO Act lawsuit along with Alexander. Thomas and Alexander violated ER 1.7(a)(2) by representing the State when there was a significant risk that the representation would be materially limited by Mr. Thomas’s personal interest against Supervisor Stapley. All three violated ER 1.7(a)(2) with the RICO Act lawsuit. Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 1.7(a)(2) when they tried to represent the State in the Wilcox prosecution. Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 1.7(a)(2) by prosecuting Supervisor Stapley when their personal interests acted as a material limitation on their representation of the State. Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 1.7(a)(2) when Ms. Aubuchon presented testimony to a grand jury seeking indictments against Andrew Kunasek, Sandi Wilson, David Smith, Gary Donahoe, and Thomas Irvine. Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 1.7(a)(2) when they unlawfully prosecuted Judge Donahoe. ER 3.1 states that “A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a good faith basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous.” Thomas, Aubuchon, and Alexander violated ER 3.1 with the RICO Act lawsuit. ER 3.3(a) states that a lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of law or fact to a tribunal. Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 3.3(a) when Aubuchon filed a motion asserting that “Judge Fields is the complainant in an open and pending State Bar matter that he initiated against County Attorney Thomas.” ER 3.4(c) states that “a lawyer shall not knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal except for an open refusal based on an assertion that no valid obligation exists.” All three violated ER 3.4(c) with the RICO Act lawsuit. ER 3.6(a) states that “A lawyer who is participating or has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know will be disseminated by means of public communication and will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding in the matter. Thomas violated ER 3.6(a) with the statements in his August 24, 2009 press release. ER 3.8(a) states that “The prosecutor in a criminal case shall refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause.” Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 3.8(a) when they unlawfully prosecuted Judge Donahoe. ER 4.4(a) states that “In representing a client, a lawyer shall not use means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden any other person, or use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of such a person.” Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 4.4(a) when they pursued criminal charges against Supervisor Stapley. They also violated it when they obtained the Court Tower subpoena and when they prosecuted Supervisors Stapley and Wilcox and Judge Donahoe. All three violated ER 4.4(a) with the RICO Act lawsuit. Thomas violated it when he caused letters to be sent to the Supervisors and County management in December 2009 regarding MCBOS’s engagement of Shughart, Thomson as legal counsel to provide advice concerning conflicts and payment of that firm’s invoices. ER 8.4(b) states that “It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.” Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 8.4(b) when they unlawfully prosecuted Judge Donahoe. ER 8.4(c) states that “It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.” Aubuchon violated ER 8.4(c) when she knowingly failed to inform the grand jury that the State lacked jurisdiction to proceed against Mr. Stapley on many charges. She also violated ER 8.4(c) in communicating with Ms. Flores about the matters on which the grand jurors had voted to “end the inquiry.” Thomas and Aubuchon violated it when they unlawfully prosecuted Judge Donahoe. ER 8.4(d) states that “It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.” Aubuchon violated ER 8.4(d) by writing and delivering potentially threatening and intimidating out-of-court letters to Judges Mundell, Baca and retired Judge Fields, with the purpose of ascertaining the decision-making thought processes of Judges Mundell and Baca. Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 8.4(d) when they charged Supervisor Stapley with fifty-three misdemeanors knowing that the statute of limitations had run on forty-four of them. Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 8.4(d) when they unlawfully prosecuted Judge Donahoe. All three violated ER 8.4(d) with the RICO Act lawsuit.   Sometimes a person may run into a prosecutor that is unethical and it is important to have an experienced legal counsel that will stand up for you and your rights. Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law has over 30 years as both a former prosecutor and a private practice attorney. Some of my practice areas:

  If you are already at the Scottsdale Court House and want to find my office, I am approximately 16 minutes from the Scottsdale Court House. See the map below for driving directions from the Scottsdale Court House to my office. https://goo.gl/maps/y2BYmfYhXQF2    

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10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Why Arizona Has Such a High Incarceration Rate

A report entitled “A New Public Safety Framework for Arizona: Charting a Path Forward” by the American Friends Service Committee – Arizona (Dec. 2016 – Originally seen published at https://afscarizona.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/a-new-public-safety-framework-for-arizona-december-2016.pdf) identified and discussed why Arizona has such a high incarceration rate: mandatory sentencing laws, unique criminal priors law, technical violations of probation or parole, and harsh sentencing for drug offenders.   According to the report, Arizona requires all prisoners to serve 85 percent of their sentence. Arizona is also one of only three states to retain the harsh, across-the-board Truth-in-Sentencing laws enacted back in the mid-1990s. The report concluded:

“In the end, mandatory sentencing has had the consequence of creating huge sentencing disparities, rather than eliminating them.” Arizona has a unique definition of a “prior” which results in harsher penalties: “As a result, offenses committed on the same day (for which the person has not yet been convicted) can be treated as “priors” at sentencing, allowing to call for harsher penalties. For example, a person can break into a car, walk down the street and break into another car. Rather than simply being charged with two counts of burglary or theft, the prosecutor can label the first break-in a “prior,” triggering a sentence enhancement.”
The National Institute of Corrections reported that Arizona had 7,379 people on parole as of December 31, 2015, and 84,766 people on probation as of July 2016. Parolees and probationers must adhere strictly to their terms of parole or probation or risk being sent back to prison for technical violations. The report noted:
“Technical violations” refer to a failure to adhere to the conditions of probation or parole. This can include missing meetings with a probation officer, failure to abstain from drugs or alcohol, or changing residences without approval. They are violations of the terms of one’s probation or release from prison, rather than new crimes. Currently, technical violators represent about 34 percent of state prison admissions—16 percent for violations of Probation and 18 percent for violations of post-prison supervision.”
Arizona is particularly harsh with prosecuting and sentencing people charged with drug offenses as discussed in the report:
“Many drug offenses, including possession with intent to sell, are Class 2 felonies regardless of the circumstances. This is just one felony class level below first-degree murder. Because of this, non-violent addict-sellers can get prison terms longer than some violent offenders.” “Drug offenses accounted for the second largest category of arrests in Arizona in 2015. Drug possession cases represented 10.45 percent of all arrests. Of those, 5.99 percent were for marijuana possession. Drug sales arrests were a much smaller percentage of arrests—just 1.28 percent of all cases. After arrest, the data shows that drug offenses account for seven out of the ten most charged criminal offenses in Maricopa County, and all are related to possession rather than sales. The numbers in Arizona’s prisons show how those various crimes are treated at sentencing. Drug offenses are the single largest category of crime for which people are serving a prison sentence—21.3 percent. Of those, 7.6 percent are in prison for drug possession, but 13.7 percent are in for sales.”
  If you are charged with a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law has over thirty years experience. Call him today for a free initial consultation.

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10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Drug Sentencing in Arizona: Practical Policy Recommendations

American Friends Service Committee-Arizona analyzed the court records of people who were sentenced to prison for a drug crime in Maricopa, Pima and Yavapai counties in 2015. They discussed their findings and recommendations in Drug Sentencing in Arizona: A Prescription for Failure, by Rebecca Fealk, MPA, and Caroline Isaacs, MSW, August 2017. All quotes and data are taken from their report. The report recommended defelonizing drug possession, expanding non-criminal justice interventions, restructuring drug sentences, and utilizing public health and harm reduction approaches. Drug Defense Attorney- Criminal Lawyer

Defelonizing drug possession would save Arizona a lot of money:

“In one year in Pima County, 60.39% of people were charged with possession for 2.5 grams or less of a drug. We can assume these are likely individuals struggling with an addiction. Seventy-six percent of these individuals went to prison for their possession, not probation or treatment. They were sentenced collectively to 352 years in prison, meaning that this one county, in just one year cost taxpayers over $8.3 million to incarcerate people charged with low-level possession.” Originally found published on Prison Legal News.
 

Expanding non-criminal justice interventions would save Arizona money:

“Drug treatment, trauma counseling, and medical care should be the first line of defense against the disease of addiction, not state surveillance or incarceration. Aside from being more effective, one report found that for every dollar spent on substance abuse disorder treatment saves $4 in health care costs and $7 in criminal justice costs. Types of drug treatment vary, and like any other health issue, different treatments work for different people. . . “ Originally found published on Prison Legal News.
  The report stated that medical monitoring, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services had been recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General as proven options for reducing addiction. Restructuring drug sentences would mean abolishing the practice of charging a person with possession based on residue or admissions of use within the last 72 hours and a positive urine test result. It would also mean abolishing the use of sentence enhancements for prior convictions when the nature of addiction dictates that most people are likely to relapse. The report noted:
“Far from stemming drug use or making communities safer, these overly harsh [Arizona] laws have served to clog our prisons with drug addicts, deny them meaningful treatment while incarcerated, and then release them with a felony conviction that bars them from meaningful employment, safe housing, or other critical services.”
 

Utilizing the following public health approaches would save lives and encourage treatment:

911 Good Samaritan Laws: 911 Good Samaritan Laws exempt people who call 911 for help during a drug overdose from arrest and prosecution of drug possession crimes. At the time of this report, 37 states and the District of Columbia have passed 911 Good Samaritan Drug Laws. This law saves lives. 911 Good Samaritan laws have been supported by police and emergency medical technicians (EMTs), as they are often the first to respond to overdose emergencies. Clean Needle Exchanges: Also known as syringe access, these laws allow for people or organizations to provide those who use an intravenous drug with sterile needles without fear of arrest or punishment. Implementation of such programs has occurred in various states and cities, from all political ideologies. Opiod Urgent Care: Using the same process as general urgent care centers, the opiod urgent care model allows those who want addiction treatment rapid access to treatment, counseling, and healthcare resources. Targeted marketing is needed to draw in the affected populations, but the structure can be integrated into the general healthcare model over time, evolving addiction treatment into a norm and not a taboo.”
Arizona may never defelonize drug possession or implement any of these policy recommendations. If you or a loved one has been charged with drug offenses, you need an experienced criminal attorney in Scottsdale, AZ to defend you. Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law has over thirty years experience. Call him today for a free consultation.

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10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Robert A Dodell, Attorney At Law Announces Charity Donation Program

Are You Looking For An Attorney to Help With Your Adoption?

The law practice of Scottsdale attorney, Robert Dodell represents a client base of foster parents who adopt dependent children in Arizona. Effective immediately, Robert Dodell will donate a portion of legal fees to a charity of choice by the foster parents.
Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law, is pleased to announce that, effective immediately, he will be donating 10% of the legal fees to the charity of the foster parents choosing upon completion of the adoption. This offer expires June 30, 2018, for foster parents. The adoption does not need to finalized by that date, but attorney Robert Dodell must be retained prior to June 30, 2018, for the offer to be valid. The Scottsdale attorney has long represented foster parents adopting dependent children through the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Department of Children Services. Robert A. Dodell adoption attorney has found those adoptions particularly important and satisfying, as it removes children from the foster care system and places them in a permanent loving home. Adopting a child is an exciting step in one’s life. It is always a privilege and a pleasure to help people who want to offer their homes and support to a child. In the legal aspects of the adoption processes, it is critical to retain an attorney who understands the law and who will assure that all the paperwork is accurately and fully completed. Robert A. Dodell takes great pride in helping people through the adoption process. He will help prospective parents navigate the process efficiently and effectively. He will address all legal matters as the parents bring a new child into the family. Robert will assist with every step of the adoption process. In addition to adoption legal services, Robert Dodell provides personal legal services in the areas of criminal defense, DUI and domestic violence. Additional services for juveniles include juvenile delinquency defense and juvenile dependencies. Robert encourages prospective clients to visit the blog at https://azcrimlawblog.wordpress.com for a wealth of information about all things legal. The blog posts cover a broad range of topics, written in a manner that will help potential new clients, students, and his peers. Source URL: https://marketersmedia.com/robert-a-dodell-attorney-at-law-announces-charity-donation-program/234103
  Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law 10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103 Scottsdale AZ 85260 (480) 860-4321 http://www.azcrimlaw.com

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Parole in Arizona: A Legal Illusion

You may be surprised to learn that Arizona abolished parole for murderers in 1993. What’s even more surprising is that defendants continued to be sentenced to “life with chance of parole” after 1993. Arizona Republic reporter Michael Kiefer wrote an excellent article called “The Myth of Parole in Arizona” that can be found at AZCentral. All facts and quotes come from his article. In 1993, the Arizona Legislature passed a Truth in Sentencing law that abolished parole and disbanded the parole board. The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency was created to take its place. The sentence was changed from “life with chance of parole after 25 years” to “life with chance of release after 25 years. As Mr. Kiefer explained:

“Life with chance of release, in effect, is a mitigated sentence, meaning it is imposed when there are circumstances that render the crime less horrible than a murder that calls for natural life or death. Life sentences also may be imposed for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, sexual conduct with a child, and in certain cases where a repeat offender is deemed incorrigible.” Originally seen published on http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-investigations/2017/03/19/myth-life-sentence-with-parole-arizona-clemency/99316310/
  Although the sentences sound similar, the change meant that the only chance for release was to obtain a pardon or sentence commutation from the governor:
“But under the new system, there is no automatic hearing. Instead, the prisoner has to petition the Board of Executive Clemency, which would likely require a lawyer. The board can then choose to hold hearings on the prisoner’s likelihood to stay out of trouble and make a recommendation to the governor. Rather than parole, the prisoner needs a pardon or a sentence commutation. Only the governor can provide those.” First see on http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-investigations/2017/03/19/myth-life-sentence-with-parole-arizona-clemency/99316310/
  Only four people were accidentally sentenced to “life with parole” in 1994 and 1995. The Arizona Republic reviewed relevant sentencing minute entries between January 1, 1994, and January 30, 2016, and found that 248 offered a chance of parole which contradicted the law. 175 of those sentences were imposed in Maricopa County Superior Court. Of these 248 sentences, 90 came about through plea agreements. Apparently, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges never informed defendants that parole had been abolished and their only hope was to try to obtain a pardon or sentence commutation by filing a petition with the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency. Mr. Kiefer interviewed several prisoners who informed him that they were never told that parole didn’t exist and that they relied on the chance of parole when they decided to enter into plea agreements. The first prisoner will be up for illusory parole in 2019. Arizona politicians have not addressed the issue. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery stated that he thinks the solution is just to admit that the sentences were in error and correct the paperwork. Kathy Brody, Legal Director of the ACLU of Arizona, remarked: “It’s a contract. It’s a deal. How can you say it’s a knowing and voluntary decision (by the defendant) if it’s an incorrect sentence?” Judges thought that the issue would have to be resolved on a case-by-case basis or even in federal district court. Unfortunately, no one mentioned reestablishing parole in Arizona as a possible solution. It will be interesting to see what happens in two years. If you or a loved one has been charged with an offense where you are facing 25 years with a chance of release, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Attorney Robert A. Dodell has over thirty years experience. Call him today for a free initial consultation.  

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10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Proposition 200 Probation for Drug Offenses

How Prop 200 Can Affect Your Drug Case

In 1996, Arizona voters passed Proposition 200. Part of Proposition 200 became A.R.S. § 13-901.01 entitled “Probation for persons convicted of possession or use of controlled substances or drug paraphernalia; treatment; prevention; education; exceptions; definition.” A person who is convicted of the personal possession or use of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia is eligible for probation according to A.R.S. § 13-901.01(A). The definition of “controlled substance” is the same as that found at A.R.S. § 36-2501 pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-901.01(J). As a condition of probation, the court shall require a person placed on probation to participate in and pay for to the extent of his or her financial ability an appropriate drug treatment or education program administered by a qualified agency or organization that provides programs to persons who abuse controlled substances pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-901.01(D). A person who the court determines has violated probation shall have new conditions established by the court under A.R.S. § 13-901.01(E). The court shall select additional terms it deems necessary, including intensified drug treatment, community restitution, intensive probation, home arrest or any other sanctions except a term of incarceration unless the court determines that the person violated probation by committing a drug offense or imitation substance or drug offense or an act in violation of a court order related to drug treatment. If a person is convicted a second time of personal possession or use of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia, the court may include additional conditions of probation it deems necessary, including intensified drug treatment, community restitution, intensive probation, home arrest of any other action within the court’s jurisdiction according to A.R.S. § 13-901.01 (F). If a person on probation fails or refuses to participate in drug treatment, the probation department or the prosecutor may petition the court to revoke the person’s probation according to A.R.S. § 13-901.01(G). If the court finds that the person refused to participate in drug treatment, the person is no longer eligible for probation and shall be sentenced under the relevant A.R.S. criminal code section for drug offenses found in Title 13, Chapter 34. Personal possession or use of a controlled substance under A.R.S. § 13-901.01 shall not include possession for sale, production, manufacturing or transportation for sale of any controlled substance pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-901.01(C). The following persons are not eligible for probation under A.R.S. § 13-901.01 and shall be sentenced pursuant to Title 13, Chapter 34:
  • A person who has been convicted of or indicted for a violent crime as defined in A.R.S. § 13-901.03 as any criminal act that results in death or physical injury or any criminal use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. See R.S. § 13-901.01 (B).
  • A person who has been convicted three times of personal possession of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia. See R.S. § 13-901.01(H)(1).
  • A person who has refused drug treatment as a term of probation. See R.S. § 13-901.01(H)(2).
  • A person who has rejected probation. See R.S. § 13-901.01 (H)(3).
  • A person whose offense involved methamphetamine. See R.S. § 13-901.01(H)(4).
  A court is not prohibited from placing a person ineligible for A.R.S. § 13-901.01 probation under probation pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-901 if the person otherwise qualifies for probation under that section according to A.R.S. § 13-901.01(I). If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug offense, you need an experienced attorney to see if probation under A.R.S. § 13-901.01 is possible. Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law has over thirty years experience. Call him today for a free initial consultation.   Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law 10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103 Scottsdale, AZ 85260 (480) 860-4321 http://www.azcrimlaw.com/  

Proposition 200 Probation for Drug Offenses was originally published on Robert Dodell Attorney at Law Proposition 200 Probation for Drug Offenses first appeared on: DUI Attorney Scottsdale - Scottsdale Criminal Lawyer | Robert Dodell Law Offices 10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103 Scottsdale, AZ 85260 (480) 860-4321 https://goo.gl/maps/diwY4pu8X5m