In a recent case before the Arizona Court of Appeals involving sexual assault, the defendant argued that his guilty conviction should be reversed. Originally, the defendant was charged continuous sexual abuse, child molestation, and sexual conduct with a minor. After considering the defendant’s appeal, the higher court ended up affirming the original guilty verdict.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant lived with his wife and two stepdaughters prior to the start of this case. In early 2020, one of the two minor children started acting differently, and her mother asked if anything had been bothering her. At that time, the child said that the defendant had been hurting her. The mother, concerned about the allegations, asked her older daughter whether the defendant had ever acted inappropriately or violently with her. The older daughter told her mother to call the police.

At that point, the defendant was charged with sexual abuse of a child. During trial, both children testified and described multiple specific instances during which the defendant entered their rooms at night and had sex with them. The girls detailed the defendant’s behaviors and the abuse they had endured. A pediatric nurse also testified at trial, and she stated that one of the daughters had visible injuries that likely came from a sexual assault.

The jury found the defendant guilty, and the court sentenced him to life in prison.

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In a recent case before the Arizona Court of Appeals, the court had to decide whether to grant a new trial in a defendant’s drug and sexual conduct case. Originally, the defendant was charged with and convicted of several drug offenses as well as sexual conduct with a minor. He appealed, arguing the prosecuting attorney made a grave error during the trial that merited an entirely new trial. The court of appeals reviewed the record of the case and ultimately disagreed, denying the defendant’s appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant in this case was treating an adolescent girl for ongoing issues with depression. The defendant claimed to have experience with plant medicine, and he told the girl that he could help solve her depression with a certain kind of mushroom.

Over time, the defendant and the girl developed a friendly relationship. Soon, however, the defendant invited the girl on a camping trip, and the relationship quickly took a turn. The defendant told the girl to consume mushrooms that would make her high, and he invited the girl to have sex with him and his wife, who was also on the camping trip.

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A common theme in Arizona domestic violence prosecutions involves the changing stories and testimonies of alleged domestic violence victims as a case progresses toward prosecution and conviction. Often, complaining victims may exaggerate or fabricate evidence of domestic violence in response to a domestic altercation, or to offset allegations of violence against themselves when law enforcement is called to the scene of a domestic dispute. Although domestic violence is never an acceptable response to a relationship or familial dispute, unfounded allegations of domestic violence sometimes result in severe, life-altering consequences to the alleged perpetrator, and sometimes also the alleged victim as well. The Arizona Court of Appeals recently affirmed a defendant’s aggravated assault conviction for a domestic violence crime, despite the victim’s attempt to recant her initial complaint to the police from the day of the alleged incident.

The defendant in the recently decided appeal was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly strangled and assaulted the mother of his children during an argument between the parties. Although the visual evidence of strangulation was limited, the police and prosecutors were inclined to prosecute the charges based on the victim’s initial reporting to the police. As the case approached trial, however, the victim’s story changed, and she testified at trial that she was, in fact, not strangled by the defendant, insinuating that her initial report to the police was an emotional response to a personal argument between the parties. The victim’s trial testimony was not persuasive to the jury in their case, and the defendant was convicted of the charges. The defendant was then sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The defendant appealed his conviction, arguing that the statements made by the victim to the investigator should not have been admitted at trial, as they were hearsay. Furthermore, the defendant argued that the evidence at trial was not sufficient to support his conviction. The appellate court rejected the defendant’s arguments, finding that the victim’s statements were admissible at trial specifically because they were inconsistent with her testimony at trial. Additionally, the appellate court gave great deference to the trial judge’s determination that there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction. As a result of the appellate rulings, the defendant will be required to serve his prison sentence.

Recently, an Arizona defendant in a drug case appealed his guilty conviction to a higher court. On appeal, the court reviewed the record of the case and discovered that the trial court had mistakenly sentenced the defendant as if he had been found guilty of two crimes instead of one. Given this error, the court vacated one of the guilty verdicts and significantly lessened the defendant’s time in prison.

Facts of the Case

One evening in May 2019, a police officer was on patrol when he saw that a nearby vehicle had expired registration, and he activated his siren to conduct a traffic stop. While pulling the vehicle over, the officer noticed an individual moving frantically in the back seat.

Recently, an Arizona defendant originally charged with sexual assault appealed his guilty convictions and sentences in two related cases. On appeal, the Arizona Court of Appeals denied the defendant’s request and affirmed the superior court’s verdicts from 2018 and 2021. At issue on appeal was the defendant’s behavior during his two trials, and the higher court concluded that it was correct for the lower court to decide that the defendant did not have the right to be physically present for both cases’ proceedings.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was first arrested for sexual assault in 2018. After going out to dinner with a woman, the defendant went with the woman back to her home, where he suddenly grabbed, choked, hit, and raped her. The State charged the defendant with sexual assault, aggravated assault, and threatening or intimidating. At the defendant’s trial, the defendant physically assaulted his court-appointed attorney right as the proceedings were about to begin. Immediately, law enforcement subdued the defendant, and the court declared a mistrial.

In 2021, the defendant came back to court on the original charges, but also to be tried for the physical assault of his attorney in 2018. At that time, the court communicated hesitation about letting the defendant in the courtroom for trial, both for safety reasons and because the court thought the defendant would be at an automatic disadvantage if the jury saw him acting violently.

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Recently, an Arizona court of appeals had to decide the implications of a statute that allows defendants convicted of extreme driving under the influence to be released from jail early if they install an interlock device on their car. Specifically, the statue says that defendants guilty of extreme DUI can have 31 days cut off their jail time if they install interlock devices in their vehicles. In this instance, the court had to decide what would happen with a defendant convicted of extreme DUI if she or he did not, in fact, own a car in the first place.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was charged with aggravated and extreme aggravated driving under the influence. The defendant sold her car to pay for a lawyer, later pleading guilty to the felony. The court sentenced the defendant to 45 days in jail, adding that all but 14 of the days could be suspended if the defendant were to equip her car with an ignition interlock device for 12 months.

The defendant asked to be released early from probation, but the State pointed out she had not installed the required ignition interlock device and that she would still have to serve her full 45 days in jail. In response, the defendant argued she did not install the device because she no longer owned a car, and thus that she should not be subject to the full time in jail. The superior court decided to release the defendant early, and the State appealed.

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In a recent case coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant appealed his conviction for aggravated assault on a police officer. On appeal, the defendant argued that the judge in the lower court should have informed the jury that they could have reasonably found he was acting in self-defense against the police officers. Considering this argument, the higher court concluded that the self-defense instruction was not appropriate, and the defendant’s appeal was denied.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, law enforcement received a service call to investigate the defendant’s fifth-wheel trailer in a backyard. A police officer arrived at the scene, knocked on the trailer door, announced that he was from the police department, and ordered the defendant outside to talk.

The officer informed the defendant that he was under arrest. When the officer began putting the defendant in handcuffs, the defendant threw his elbows out, pulled away, and turned on the officer. A fight ensued. At one point, the defendant struck the officer with several solid objects. The officer then drew his pistol and fired a single round into the defendant’s neck.

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In a recent case before the Arizona Court of Appeals, the defendant unsuccessfully argued that a police officer’s canine search of her vehicle was unwarranted. Originally, the defendant was charged, convicted, and sentenced for possession of a narcotic drug for sale. On appeal, she argued that the evidence of the drugs should have been suppressed at trial because the officer did not have a legal basis for having his canine search her car. The court of appeals disagreed with the defendant and affirmed the lower court’s decision.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, a state trooper stopped the defendant and her friend because they had been following other cars too closely on the road one evening. The officer pulled the car over, asked the defendant and her friend a few questions, and requested that each individual hand over their identification. Neither the defendant nor her friend had a valid driver’s license.

The officer asked the pair if his dog could sniff around the car, and they both consented to the sniff. At that point, the dog alerted near the passenger door, and a search of the car revealed 275.6 grams of heroin under the defendant’s seat. A second search of the car revealed an additional 272.2 grams of heroin.

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In a recent Arizona murder case, the defendant unsuccessfully appealed his conviction and sentencing for second-degree murder. In the appeal, the defendant argued on many counts, challenging the lower court decision through the Arizona separation-of-powers doctrine, disputing evidence introduced at trial, filing motions to suppress evidence, disputing jury instructions, and arguing that his sentencing was also improper. The appeals court denied his appeals and affirmed both his conviction and his sentence.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion in May of 2015, the defendant, a Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corps, lived with his wife and twenty-month-old step-daughter at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma. On May 18, his wife spent time playing with the daughter, and neither she nor their neighbor observed any injuries on her. Photographs taken by the defendant’s wife that day also do not reveal any evidence of injuries to her daughter. That night when the defendant picked up his wife, she was upset that he did not bring her daughter because she did not like leaving her daughter alone. The defendant told her during the ride home that he had spanked the daughter because she had been misbehaving. When they arrived home, the defendant’s wife went directly to bed, while the defendant checked in on the daughter before going to sleep.

The next morning, when the wife went in to see her daughter after the defendant had left for work, she found her “laying halfway off the bed with her head on the floor.” Her daughter’s body was cold and stiff. She saw marks that resembled burns and called 911. When paramedics arrived on the scene they were unable to resuscitate the daughter, who had no pulse. She was then transported to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. The defendant was subsequently interviewed and investigated by Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) agents as well as the Yuma Police Department. During his interviews with the NCIS agents, the defendant made several incriminating statements and signed a waiver relieving them of the need to advise him of his constitutional rights.

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Late last month, an Arizona Court of Appeals ruled on a defendant’s appeal of his conviction for aggravated assault against a police officer. In writing its decision, the court considered the defendant’s argument that his trial result should be overturned due to unfair testimony offered by a police officer on the stand. Ultimately, the court disagreed with the defendant’s contentions, and the original verdict was affirmed.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, police were responding to a report of theft in the parking lot of a Family Dollar store when they spotted the defendant in this case. The defendant matched the description of the suspect they were looking for, so they approached him to investigate the situation. As soon as the officers approached, the defendant began running away, at which point one officer took the defendant by the arm and reached for his handcuffs.

Subsequently, the defendant swung his elbow back towards the officer and pushed the officer away. The officer fell to the ground, and the defendant continued to run. The officer was later treated at the hospital and diagnosed with a head injury as a result of the incident.

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