Arizona Defendant in Robbery Case Challenges Guilty Conviction with DNA Evidence

In a recent case before an appeals court in Arizona, the defendant asked for a reconsideration of his guilty conviction for armed robbery and aggravated assault. Originally, the defendant was convicted after he and an accomplice robbed a local jewelry store. His case went to trial, and a jury found him guilty. When the defendant appealed, the higher court had to decide whether the evidence supported the verdict, given the defendant’s argument that some of the DNA should have undergone independent testing and was thus unreliable. Ultimately, the higher court denied the defendant’s appeal, and his original verdict was affirmed.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant and his accomplice arrived at a jewelry store on the day in question and held the owner at gunpoint. A passerby came into the store, and when that passerby started to pull out his phone to call the police, the defendant fought him to the ground. Eventually, the defendant and his accomplice both fled the scene, and investigators arrived quickly after they left.

While fleeing, the defendant had left behind a shirt and a hat from the fight with the passerby. Using DNA evidence, the investigators linked the shirt to the defendant, who was in their criminal database. Eventually, the defendant was charged, and his case went to trial. The jury found the defendant guilty as charged.

The Decision

On appeal, the defendant argued that he should have been allowed to have an independent testing site analyze the DNA evidence submitted at trial. The defendant had filed a motion to continue the trial since forensic analysts testing the hat had determined the DNA results were “inconclusive.” Without certainty, said the defendant, he should be allowed to bring in an independent analyst, and the trial should have been continued to allow him time to do this. Since the lower court had denied his motion to continue, he was unnecessarily burdened, and he was eligible for a reversal.

Looking at the lower court’s decision, the court of appeals determined that there was no reason to think a third test of the evidence would yield a different result. Because the defendant had failed to articulate how independent testing would reveal new evidence, his request was insufficient to warrant a continuance of the trial. The DNA evidence on the shirt was enough to link him to the scene of the crime, even without conclusive evidence from the hat.

Thus, the defendant’s argument was ineffective, and the guilty verdict remained in place.

Are You in Need of a Criminal Defense Attorney in Arizona?

If you are facing robbery charges in the state of Arizona, you need someone by your side who you know will fight relentlessly in your favor. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we take pride in offering you thorough representation that explores every possible avenue for getting your charges dropped. For a free and confidential with a member of our team, call us today at 480-413-1499.

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