In a recent opinion from an Arizona court involving child luring, two of the defendant’s convictions were vacated. Originally, the defendant had been convicted of three counts of luring a minor for sexual exploitation. On appeal, he argued that he did not commit three separate crimes and that his conviction should be changed to reflect the nature of his crime. The court agreed, convicting the defendant of one count (instead of three counts) of luring a minor.

Facts of the Case

The defendant in this case, a Las Vegas resident in his early sixties, placed an advertisement on a website seeking sexual encounters with women. Users of the site supposedly had to agree that they were adults, but the site did not monitor or enforce the age requirement. In an attempt to target child predators, a detective in the Sheriff’s Office responded to the defendant’s advertisement under the name “Sabrina.” The defendant and Sabrina proceeded to send over 1,300 text messages to each other throughout the course of one week. Sabrina indicated she was 13 years old, and the defendant asked if she wanted to meet in person. Over text, the defendant suggested that he and Sabrina “make love” when they meet up.

A few days later, officers arrested the defendant when he arrived at the arranged meeting spot. The defendant was carrying clothing and a purse for Sabrina, a “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” doll, and a Viagra pill. The State then charged the defendant with three counts of luring a minor under the age of 15 for sexual exploitation, as well as one count of attempted sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 15.

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In a recent opinion from an Arizona court, a defendant’s convictions and sentences were affirmed after he unsuccessfully argued that his trial was unfair and that he should receive a new verdict. Originally, the defendant was convicted after exposing his penis to a minor and involving a minor in a drug offense. In its opinion, the court disagreed that the defendant’s trial was unfair and concluded that the defendant’s verdict should be affirmed.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant is an adult male who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS) and whose right side of the body is largely non-functional. In April 2018, the defendant had his fourteen-year-old daughter take photographs of his penis so that he could send photos to her friends and to “know what they thought of his penis” in light of the MS. A few months later, the defendant provided marijuana in a pipe to one of his daughter’s friends, a neighbor who was fourteen years old.

The defendant was convicted for three counts of indecent exposure, one count of furnishing harmful material to minors, and one count of involving a minor in a drug offense. On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial was not properly conducted and that he should thus be afforded a new verdict.

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In a recent opinion from an Arizona court, a defendant’s appeal was denied despite the multiple arguments he put forward asking for a new verdict. The defendant was charged after having robbed a smoke shop with a group of friends and killing the store clerk. On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial was conducted in error and that he was unfairly sentenced to time in prison. Ultimately, the court denied the defendant’s arguments and thus affirmed the original guilty conviction.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant and three friends were together in an apartment when they decided to rob a nearby smoke shop. The group took a gun, gathered an empty duffel bag, and set out for the smoke shop. En route, one of the defendant’s friends expressed that he intended to kill the store clerk upon arrival.

Security cameras captured the group walking into the shop, gathering merchandise, going through the cash drawers, and shooting the store clerk in the head. An autopsy of the clerk revealed that he had been shot eight times and that he died as a result. A duffel back with store merchandise was recovered from the scene of the crime with the defendant’s DNA. Several days later, police officers executed a search warrant at the apartment and found stolen merchandise with the defendant’s fingerprints on it. The officers arrested the defendant and indicted him on counts of conspiracy to commit murder, first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, armed robbery, vehicle theft, and arson of an occupied structure.

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In a recent opinion in an Arizona sexual abuse case, the court denied the defendant’s request for a new verdict. A jury had convicted of a mixture of twenty-five felony and misdemeanor counts, including felonies of molestation of a child and sexual conduct with a minor, as well as misdemeanors of indecent exposure and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. On appeal, the defendant argued that some of the evidence used to find him guilty should have been suppressed; namely, when officers searched his cell phone and found incriminating photos, they were not actually authorized to be looking through his personal property. The court disagreed, finding the warrant that the officers used gave them permission to search the defendant’s phone.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was convicted after having molested his stepdaughter from the time that she was eight years old. The abuse remained constant throughout the victim’s childhood, and when the victim turned sixteen years old, the defendant began having sexual intercourse with her. In 2015, the victim and her biological father reported the incidents to the police, and a formal investigation began. During this investigation, detectives learned that the victim and the defendant had exchanged photographs of each other’s genitals over text message, as well as that the defendant had recently taken her cell phone away from her.

A few days later, police officers secured a search warrant, which identified fifteen specific items that the police were authorized to search. These items included the defendant’s cell phone and other electronic devices. A search of his cell phone led to the discovery of several nude photos of the victim, including photos of the defendant and the victim having sex.

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In a recent opinion from an Arizona court involving child pornography, the defendant’s request for the court to reconsider his guilty verdict was denied. The defendant was found guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor under the age of fifteen. He filed a motion to suppress evidence, arguing that the officers who found incriminating information did not have the kind of warrant they needed to be able to legally search his home. The appellate court denied the appeal because it found that the warrant was, in fact, valid, even though it had been five months between when the warrant was issued and when the officers made use of the warrant to search for evidence.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, AOL Inc. filed a report in March 2014 after having discovered an email with the subject line, “Re: trade” with an image attached that appeared to contain child pornography. Once officers in Arizona received notice of the image, they subpoenaed the internet service provider to obtain subscriber information for the person who sent the email. Five months later, the officers followed the warrant’s information to the defendant’s home address. They discovered hundreds of images that were classified as child pornography. While the officers were in the defendant’s home, the defendant also admitted to having possessed and distributed child pornography for several years.

Recently, an Arizona appellate court addressed the lower court’s new changes in procedure made in response to the Covid-19 public health emergency. The appellate court denied a defendant’s challenges to these changes, which included the option for potential jurors to appear by video instead of in-person and the decrease in peremptory strikes during jury selection.

The Facts of the Case

While traveling on a highway in a pickup truck, the defendant was stopped by law enforcement for a mud flap violation. The defendant consented to a dog sniff, which led to the officers finding drugs in the truck. The defendant filed a motion to suppress the drugs being used as evidence against him at trial, arguing that he was detained for a time that was longer than necessary for officers to complete the traffic citation. The lower court denied the motion.

While the defendant awaited his trial, the Arizona Supreme Court modified court operations in response to the Covid-19 public health emergency. Typically, in the Arizona jury selection process, each party is allowed up to six peremptory strikes, or in other words the ability to choose up to six individuals who they would like to excuse from serving on the jury. In response to the pandemic, the Supreme Court decreased the number of peremptory strikes that each party could make, changing it from six strikes to two. Additionally, the Supreme Court authorized the use of technology for virtual jury selection instead of in-person jury selection.

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In a recent opinion written by an Arizona appellate court, a defendant appealed a lower court’s denial of his to suppress the physical evidence found in his backpack after a murder. The appellate court affirmed the denial of his motion to suppress, finding that the defendant’s Fourth Amendment protections were not violated since the backpack search was a routine inventory search and that the evidence would have been inevitably found because of a warrant filed by police.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was found with a bloody knife, a store receipt, and a cell phone, which linked him to the murder of a store worker who was attacked in the store’s parking lot after refusing to hand over his car keys. The defendant argued that he acted out of self-defense at a bus station, but the DNA on the bloody knife and on the defendant’s clothes belonged to the store worker and no disturbance was reported at a bus station that night. Surveillance video showed the defendant getting out of the stolen vehicle to enter a store about an hour after the store worker was killed.

Recently, the Arizona Court of Appeals issued an opinion in an Arizona robbery and felony-murder case. In its opinion, the court affirmed the lower court’s decision to deny the defendant’s motion to preclude an identification made by a witness.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the defendant and four other individuals robbed an armored truck as two security guards attempted to refill an ATM. One of the individuals fired a rifle at the security guards, and a security guard fired a gunshot back. The shot fired by the security guard was fatal.

The defendant’s DNA was found on a rifle left near the scene of the crime, in addition to the deceased individual’s cell phone being found at the scene of the crime. The call records from the cell phone revealed that the defendant and the deceased had been in communication on multiple occasions and that the defendant had traveled to and from the location of the crime on the day of the incident. The State was authorized to conduct a wiretap on the phones of the suspects, leading to the defendant being arrested.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in an Arizona drug case involving the automobile exception to the search warrant requirement. According to the court’s opinion, an officer initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle with two passengers after noticing the vehicle swerve across the fog line of a highway in Arizona. During the traffic stop, the officer smelled marijuana, saw a marijuana dispensary bag, smelled air fresheners in the vehicle, and noticed a radar detector on the windshield. The officer used a plate reader to determine that the vehicle had driven into California earlier that day and had made a similar one-day trip to California a few months ago.

The officer determined that the driver was not impaired. As the officer was preparing paperwork to issue a warning, the officer asked the driver about their relationship to one another and where they were headed, to which the driver responded. After escorting the driver back to his car, the officer questioned the other passenger about their relationship to one another and where they were headed. The driver of the vehicle and the passenger of the vehicle gave different answers. The passenger then admitted to there being a small amount of marijuana in the dispensary bag. The officer issued the warning.

The officer then asked the driver about the bag, and the driver stated that there was no marijuana in the car. Neither passenger presented a medical marijuana card. The officer detained both passengers and found various drugs and instruments in the vehicle.

Law enforcement agencies often use traffic stops or other small municipal code violations as a pretext to investigate a suspect for more serious criminal activity. Many arrests and convictions for serious crimes occur only after a law enforcement officer has stopped or detained a suspect for a less serious offense, and decided to expand the scope of their investigation to look for evidence of further criminal activity. These law enforcement tactics are permissible in some circumstances, however, if a police officer expands the scope of a minor traffic stop without legal justification, it may be possible for a defendant to suppress any evidence obtained through the officer’s unlawful tactics. The Arizona Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion in an appeal filed by a man who was convicted of several serious offenses after he was stopped for violating traffic laws.

The defendant in the recently decided appeal is a man who was convicted of several felony offenses relating to drugs and weapons that he allegedly had in his vehicle and were discovered after a traffic stop. According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the defendant had been under investigation for several months for alleged drug activity, however, he was initially stopped by a uniformed officer after he was witnessed violating several minor traffic laws. After the defendant was stopped, several rounds of questioning ensued as to his reason for being in the area. The officer also administered field sobriety tests waiting for a K-9 unit to arrive. After some delay, the police dog arrived and alerted the officer to narcotics in the vehicle. A subsequent search of the vehicle discovered significant amounts of drugs and weapons. The defendant was arrested, charged, and ultimately convicted.

After his conviction, the defendant appealed to the Arizona Court of Appeals, challenging the trial judge’s decision to allow the evidence discovered at the traffic stop to be used at trial. The defendant argued that the officer exceeded the scope of the traffic stop and unreasonably delayed the stop in order to allow time for the K-9 unit to arrive and search for the drugs. The appellate court did not completely agree with the trial judge’s ruling that the scope of the traffic stop was not expanded; however, the court upheld the ruling and conviction because the defendant was the subject of an ongoing narcotics investigation, and the law enforcement agents involved all had reasonable suspicion to perform a search based on the evidence gathered in the months-long investigation, as well as what they had witnessed the day of the arrest. As a result of the appellate ruling, the defendant’s conviction will stand, and he will be required to serve out his prison sentence.

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