Articles Posted in Violent Crime

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bulletsIn a recent unpublished Arizona appellate opinion, the defendant appealed a conviction for aggravated assault, for which he was sentenced to a term of 8 1/2 years imprisonment. The case arose when the defendant’s brother rode a bike to their mom’s house, where his brother lived with the mom. The brother had previously had fights with the defendant. When he came up to the gate, he found it was locked. He realized his mother wasn’t going to come out, so he started to ride off on his bike. His brother fired a gun at him twice, hitting him in the right leg.

The weapon wasn’t located, but police found a bullet in the defendant’s pocket and a bullet in a bag he was carrying right after the shooting. A detective met with the victim in his hospital room and saw a circular wound that looked like a gunshot wound on the victim’s leg. He also observed an x-ray that showed a bullet inside his leg. The victim told the detective that “Cotton” shot him—Cotton was the defendant’s nickname. The defendant was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, which is considered a dangerous offense.

In jail, the defendant called six family members, asking to make sure his brother wouldn’t come to trial to testify against him. He told his mother, sister, niece, and brother the date of the trial and said that if his brother didn’t show up, he wouldn’t be convicted. He also asked his mother to schedule a family meeting with the brother so that she could remind him that if he testified, the defendant would miss family Christmases. He also asked his niece to tell his brother that he would be disowned if he testified. His sister told the defendant that she talked to the victim, and the victim wasn’t going to be a problem. The defendant made many other efforts to get the victim not to show up at trial.

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Any assault against police, by word or conduct, is a felony in Arizona

Aggravated (Felony) Assaults of a police officer is serious in Arizona. Depending on the circumstances, classifications may range from Class 6 felonies, up to Class 2 felonies. The only offenses more serious than Class 2 felonies are reserved for the most serious Class 1 felony crimes, such as homicide.

Felony Assault of Peace Officer Laws

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According the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) crime statistics and reports, there were approximately 26,311 arrests made for violent crimes reported in 2011. An estimated 7,127 of those involved Aggravated Assault charges, and many of those offenses involved use of a deadly weapon. These are extremely serious charges that if convicted, can  result in long term to life prison sentencing in the case of serious injury to a victim; or capital punishment in the case of homicide.

Felony Assault Laws

Assault involving possession or use of a Deadly Weapon or instrument elevates a charge to an Aggravated Assault which is a felony. Arizona defines a “Deadly Weapon” under A.R.S. 13-105 (15) as anything designed for lethal use, and includes firearms.