Recently, a defendant in a case involving narcotic drugs asked the Arizona Court of Appeals to reverse an unfavorable decision delivered by the superior court. Originally charged with possession of narcotic drugs and misconduct involving weapons, the defendant asked the lower court to suppress incriminating evidence that the government planned to use against him during trial. The superior court denied the motion, the defendant appealed, and the higher court ultimately affirmed, refusing to suppress the evidence in question.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, local police officers received a call one evening regarding an alleged abandoned car in a residential neighborhood. Officers arrived to investigate, at which point the car began moving. Officers learned that the defendant was in the driver’s seat, and he started taking the car westbound. As the police car followed, the defendant committed a traffic violation by cutting across several lanes of traffic at once.
The officers conducted a traffic stop and subsequently found marijuana, a gun, and a digital scale in the car. They arrested the defendant, and he was charged accordingly.
Before trial, the defendant moved to suppress the evidence found in his vehicle. According to the defendant, the officers did not have sufficient legal basis to pull him over in the first place. Without this justification, the evidence the officers found should not be admitted into the record. After reviewing the defendant’s motion, the court scheduled a hearing to decide on whether the evidence should be suppressed.
At that hearing, the court asked the defendant’s attorney who he wanted to testify first. The attorney indicated that the defendant would be the first to testify, and he took the stand to talk about the incidents that led to the arrest. After hearing from all of the necessary witnesses, the court decided to deny the motion to suppress.
Later, the defendant appealed this decision by arguing that it was unfair for the court to have him testify first. Because he had already made out the basic elements of his case to suppress the evidence, the government should have had the burden of proving its case before he attempted to prove his.
The court, however, disagreed with the defendant. The judge had specifically asked the defense attorney who he wanted to testify first, and the attorney had chosen his own client. Also, said the court, even if the testimony came out of order, it did not ultimately have an effect on who had the higher burden in proving their case.
Therefore, said the court, the defendant’s appeal would be denied.
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