Articles Posted in Robbery

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.

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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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Arizona lawmakers recently passed House Bill 2007 (HB2007), adding an aggravating circumstance to the list of 26 that were previously enumerated in the statute.  The law became effective August 3, 2018.

The newest aggravating circumstance is triggered when a defendant “uses a mask or other disguise to obscure the defendant’s face to avoid detection” during a crime.

To be clear, the new aggravating circumstance doesn’t criminalize wearing a disguise.  Rather, it allows for an increased punishment for those who are convicted of committing a crime, while wearing a mask or disguise.

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