Attorney Returns To His Roots

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John Franklin is a trial attorney. He practices criminal law, civil defense, personal injury, family law, corporate issues and commercial business litigation. He also drafts personal documents such as wills and trusts.

Franklin was born in the local hospital, when it was Pyle Memorial, in 1969.

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Get John Franklin in a courtroom and he said he is aggressive, but when it comes to family law he believes that, sadly, there are no winners in the "two hotly contested sides," especially if there are children caught in the middle.

"During those 17 years I lived here, I couldn't wait to get the heck out. Once I got away (to California) I realized (despite the fact that some of the places he used to go hunting are now housing developments) Payson's not a bad little area to raise a family."

Franklin first thought of becoming an attorney when he was struck in a traffic accident as a teen and took the person who hit him to small claims court because they wouldn't pay to repair his vehicle.

"Ronnie McDaniel was justice of the peace at the time. I think he had just been elected, and he said, ‘Wow. That was pretty good. You do as well as some of the attorneys I see on a daily basis.' I took that as a compliment."

So Franklin had to decide whether he wanted to be a biology teacher like Susan Reed, who he respected, or an attorney.

While in college at Northern Arizona University, he met his wife Michele and "Life took over," he said, and in 1991 he started what would be a 13-year career as a paralegal, before he returned to college at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego to become an attorney.

In April of 2004 he moved back to his Rim Country roots to work as a prosecutor with the Gila County Attorney's Office.

"I love the law," Franklin said. "I love the fact that there are black areas, there are white areas, but it never fails, almost all your litigation, of course, falls in the gray area. Every day is different."

Laws that haven't had any interpretation from the court of appeals Franklin described as a "litigator's dream," with each side giving their best persuasive argument to the judge.

In addition to prosecuting criminal cases, he also worked with Northern Gila County juveniles, where he saw some of his toughest cases.

"There are plenty of laws on the books that aren't being litigated, that aren't being followed," he said.

"A good example is our sexual assault statutes. There are some gray areas there with young ladies who (are) 15, 16, 17 and dating mid-twenties-aged men. It's almost like these guys are preying on these young ladies. The girls know what they are doing, don't get me wrong, but so do these men. That's one of our problems that we have. Teen pregnancy is huge. There are laws like that that need to be followed a little more."

As much as Franklin said he loved being a prosecutor, he made the decision to go into private practice so his family time could be more flexible and because private law school was expensive.

The flexibility to make time in the middle of his day to go see his third-grader win an award at school is important to the father of almost five (wife, Michelle is due with their fifth.)

"One thing that is kind of contradictory (about the law) is that everybody thinks that you can buy your defense, or that people with money are the ones that are going to prevail. Hopefully I can turn that around a little bit. I try to make it a little more affordable for those who don't have the opportunity and the means."

Franklin said his aim is to give everyone the "quality litigation and quality counseling that they deserve."

He said he is someone who knows and understands Payson.

He wants to be the "kind of attorney anybody can approach and say, ‘Hi, how are you?" yet still be the "bulldog" in the courtroom.

Franklin's office is located in Payson at 605 W. Main St. His telephone number is (928) 474-5060, or he can be reached by e-mail at john.t.franklin@webmail.azbar.org.

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