Arizona Court Denies Defendant’s Appeal of Denial of Motion for Mistrial

In a recent gun case coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant’s appeal of the court’s decision in his case was denied. The defendant was originally charged with aggravated assault and disorderly conduct, and he was found guilty of disorderly conduct after a jury considered the facts of his case. On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court should have granted him a mistrial because of one officer’s unfair and inaccurate testimony. The higher court disagreed with the defendant, affirming his original conviction.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, police officers arrived at the defendant’s apartment one evening in 2019 after receiving six emergency phone calls about an individual with a weapon. When the officers got out of their vehicles, they saw the defendant, who matched the descriptions that the 911 callers had provided. The defendant was walking in circles with two guns hanging from his waistband. One witness at the scene told the officers that the defendant had pointed the gun in his direction. Another witness insisted that he had not seen the defendant point the gun at anyone.

Regardless of whether the defendant had pointed the gun at any individuals, the officers recognized he posed a direct threat to the people around him. After finding four additional magazines on the defendant’s person, the officers arrested him and charged him accordingly.

The Decision

At trial, one of the police officers who had been dispatched to the scene testified on the stand. During his testimony, the officer said that the defendant had pointed the gun at several people around him. Because this was a contested point, and it was not actually proven that the defendant had pointed the gun at anyone, the defense counsel objected to the officer’s testimony.

The judge asked the jury to disregard the testimony since no one was sure whether or not the defendant had actually pointed the gun at any individuals. At the end of trial, the defendant was not found guilty of aggravated assault but was found guilty of disorderly conduct. He applied for a mistrial, arguing that the court should grant him a new trial given the fact that the officer improperly biased the jury. The court denied the motion, and the defendant appealed.

Considering again whether or not the defendant should have been granted a mistrial, the higher court concluded that the officer’s testimony was not so prejudicial as to warrant a second trial. The judge immediately instructed the jury not to consider the officer’s statement, and the court thus took appropriate measures to ensure the testimony was not overly harmful to the defendant.

Based on this conclusion, the court denied the appeal and affirmed the original conviction.

Have You Been Criminally Charged in the State of Arizona?

If you or a loved one are facing gun charges in Arizona, call us at the Law Office of James E. Novak. We work on a wide variety of issues and offer unparalleled representation that meets your legal needs. For your free and confidential consultation, call us at 480-413-1499. You can also send us a message online to have your questions answered.

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