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In a recent opinion in an Arizona negligent homicide case, the defendant’s request for a lesser sentence was denied. After having been found guilty of homicide in 2016, the defendant was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment. The defendant appealed this sentence, arguing that it was unfair for the court to take two of his previous convictions into account when calculating his sentence. The court disagreed, citing a law that allows courts to consider previous offenses when they have happened within five years of the present, relevant offense. The court thus affirmed the defendant’s sentence.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant went to the victim’s home on November 16, 2016. Upon finding the victim outside, the defendant used a cement block to severely injure him. Four days later, on November 20, 2016, the victim died from his injuries. At trial, the jury found the defendant guilty of negligent homicide.

After the jury found the defendant guilty, it was the court’s job to sentence the defendant. While embarking on this process, the court decided to use two of the defendant’s prior convictions – possession of narcotic drugs for sale and a drug paraphernalia violation – to decide the amount of time the defendant should be required to serve. Because of these prior convictions, the court viewed the defendant as having committed three offenses instead of just one offense. The court then sentenced the defendant to nine years’ imprisonment.

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The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution grant persons accused of crimes the right to remain silent in the face of police questioning. The landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of Miranda vs. Arizona has defined this constitutional right by requiring police to give an in-custody suspect Miranda warnings before questioning them about alleged criminal activity. Miranda warnings instruct suspects that they do not need to answer any police questions and that any responses they give can be used as evidence against them if they face criminal charges. The law concerning a suspect’s Miranda rights is not always cut and dry, however, and statements given after a valid Miranda warning still may be inadmissible under some circumstances. The Arizona Court of Appeals recently ruled on an appeal filed by a defendant who alleged that statements he made to police after he was given his Miranda warnings should not have been admitted at his attempted murder trial.

The defendant from the recently decided appeal was stopped by police for his alleged involvement in a shootout with police that had occurred earlier in the day of his arrest. The defendant was injured with a gunshot wound at the time of his arrest and he was taken to the hospital for treatment under police supervision. According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the defendant engaged in “small talk” with the police officers while he was at the hospital before he was given any Miranda warnings, and he made incriminating statements.

After the defendant’s condition was stabilized and he was released from the hospital, he was placed under arrest for attempted murder. After his arrest, the defendant was questioned by another officer, who read him his Miranda rights. During this second round of questioning, the defendant made more incriminating statements. At trial, the defiant challenged the admission of both rounds of statements. The trial court suppressed the first round of statements but admitted the second round because the defendant had been read his Miranda rights before making them. A jury ultimately convicted the defendant of attempted murder.

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In a unanimous decision coming from the Supreme Court of the United States, the Court held that a police officer’s pursuit of a fleeing misdemeanor suspect does not always qualify as an exigent or demanding circumstance that would otherwise justify a police officer’s warrantless entry into a home. This decision strengthens Fourth Amendment protections for individuals throughout the country by limiting, to a certain extent, the special circumstances that allow an officer to enter a home without a warrant.

The Facts of the Case

After a highway patrol officer observed loud music coming from a parked car, and the driver of the car honking the horn multiple times despite there being no other vehicles around, the officer decided to follow the vehicle once it began moving. After following the vehicle for several blocks, the officer turned on his overhead lights, but the driver of the vehicle failed to pull over. The driver turned into his driveway and pulled into his garage. The officer interrupted the closing garage door and asked the driver if he had noticed that the officer turned on his overhead lights. The driver replied that he had not, and was charged with two vehicle code misdemeanors.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in an Arizona drug case involving the defendant’s motion to suppress hundreds of pounds of marijuana found in his vehicle. Ultimately, the court found that the police officer unnecessarily and unjustifiably extended the duration of the traffic stop. Thus, the court held that the defendant was illegally seized and any evidence recovered as a result of the search could not be used at trial.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, a state trooper observed the defendant following another vehicle too closely on Interstate 40. The trooper initiated a traffic stop, obtaining the defendant’s information. The trooper then asked the defendant to exit his car and sit in the front seat of the patrol vehicle.

At this point, the trooper’s drug-detection dog, which was seated directly behind the defendant, began barking. In response, the defendant became nervous; however, he continued to answer the trooper’s routine questions. The trooper verified the information provided by the defendant and issued a traffic citation.

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In a recent Arizona appeals court opinion, a defendant filed a motion to suppress statements he made to detectives based on whether the statements were made voluntary. The lower court delayed a ruling on the motion until testimony was made during the course of the trial, eventually finding that the statements were made voluntarily by the defendant. The appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision because the lower court was not required to make a voluntariness determination in this matter and because the court’s delayed ruling did not impact the evidence.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, a minor child testified that the defendant, who was her adoptive father, had been sexually abusing her for over ten years. A recorded phone call during a police investigation revealed that the defendant also had similarly sexually abused the child victim’s mother, starting when the mother was about fourteen years old. The mother married the defendant, and the defendant adopted the child victim.

Before the trial occurred, the defendant filed a motion to suppress involuntary statements, but in his motion, he only asked the court to examine whether his statements were admissible under the law based on voluntariness. The defendant did not raise the voluntariness claim in a timely manner or argue that the statements he made to detectives should be suppressed. The lower court noted the untimeliness of the defendant’s motion and did not make a ruling on it before trial, but instead decided to consider the voluntariness of the defendant’s statements during the course of the trial. During the trial, it was revealed that the defendant fully cooperated with the investigation and consented to an interview before he was in custody. The jury found the defendant guilty of child sex abuse and sentenced him to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 35 years. The defendant appealed.

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In a recently decided case in an Arizona court, the court denied a defendant’s motion to suppress physical evidence because of the defendant’s lack of legitimate expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. This case highlights the complicated nature of searches and seizures under the law and the importance of having an experienced criminal law attorney to assist in your defense.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, an eight-month pregnant woman was driving in her car with her daughter when the driver of another vehicle ran her off the road as she attempted to merge into a new lane. The husband of the pregnant woman was driving directly behind his wife and witnessed the driver of the other vehicle cause his wife to almost hit a parked vehicle. As a result, the husband followed behind the other vehicle and yelled to the driver about running his wife off the road. The defendant, who was a passenger in the other car, fired a gun at the husband’s vehicle three times which caused a flat tire.

The husband and wife reported the incident to the police and reported the other car’s location after the pair followed the defendant. The defendant was dropped off at a community college while carrying two bags and dropped one of the bags in one of the lockers in a locker room. After checking the school’s surveillance video, a police officer searched the locker room. In a locker with mesh-like sides, the officer eventually found a similar-looking bag. The officer found the gun used in the shooting. The defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence found in the locker, arguing that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated due to the warrantless search of the locker. The lower court denied the motion. Despite arguing that his actions were a form of self-defense and defense of others in the car, the defendant was found guilty.

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Recently, an Arizona court issued an opinion in an aggravated assault case following the defendant’s challenge of the jury selection. The defendant raised a challenge alleging that the opposing party excluded certain individuals because of their race. The appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision in denying the defendant’s challenge.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, parties of an upcoming trial were selecting individuals to serve on the jury. The defendant challenged the jury selection, requesting that the prosecutor explain why they chose to remove the only two Black individuals from serving on the jury. The prosecutor explained that they struck one individual from serving on the jury because that individual’s brother was convicted of a crime, which they worried could impact the individual’s ability to judge fairly. The second person was removed from the jury selection pool because that individual was previously involved in a criminal case. The trial court found that these were reasonable and race-neutral justifications and thus that the challenge raised by the defendant should be denied.

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In the state of Arizona, criminal defendants can request that the court excludes from trial certain evidence obtained in violation of a defendant’s rights. If you have been charged with committing a crime in Arizona, you may file a motion to suppress physical evidence if you believe specific rights granted from either the United States Constitution, the state constitution, or a statute are violated. Filing a motion to suppress can serve as an essential tool for disputing charges as a defendant.

For example, if police officials obtain evidence in violation of a criminal defendant’s Miranda rights, successfully requesting suppression of any evidence prior to trial would bar the prosecution from using it against the defendant once the trial commences. Another example is if a police officer illegally arrests you without reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

If this evidence turns out to be important for the prosecution’s case and if the motion to suppress is successfully granted by the court, the exclusion of certain evidence could lead to a dismissal of the charges against the defendant. For example, if you are able to suppress a gun in an Arizona weapons case, the prosecution cannot proceed without the evidence, meaning they will often drop the case against you.

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The Supreme Court of the State of Arizona recently issued an opinion setting forth the procedure for determining whether an individual is a “sexually violent person” (SVP). The case arose after prosecutors charged the Arizona defendant with one count of sexual conduct with a minor. The defense moved for a competency examination, and the trial court found him not competent and not restorable (NCNR).

In response, the prosecutors requested an SVP screening, arguing that the procedure was warranted under § 13-4518(A). The defendant argued that the statute did not require a screen, and it is an abuse of discretion for a trial court to order one when the record does not support the order. At a hearing on the issue, the defendant argued that although the State met two elements of the statute, that alone did not require the trial court to grant the request. Nevertheless, the trial court ordered the screening.

Under Arizona’s SVP Act, a sexually violent person is one who has “been convicted or been found guilty but insane of a sexually violent offense” or was charged as such and was found guilty but insane and has a mental disorder that makes it more likely that they will engage in sexually violent acts.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in an Arizona drug case, affirming the denial of the defendant’s motion to suppress. As a result, the defendant’s eight-year prison sentence for disorderly conduct and possession of narcotics was affirmed. The case is an example of the court’s ability to resolve conflicting versions of events at a motion to suppress.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, police received a call from the complaining witness, reporting a disturbance at her home. The complaining witness happened to work at the police station and called the responding officer as he was on his way to the scene. The officer could hear knocking and what he identified as a ringing doorbell in the background. The complaining witness told police that the defendant was the one causing the disturbance.

When the officer arrived, he saw the defendant outside the home and arrested him for disorderly conduct. Incident to the defendant’s arrest, the officer searched the defendant, finding methamphetamine and a pipe. The defendant tried to explain that he was trying to alert the complaining witness of a potential emergency. The complaining witness’s sister-in-law arrived on the scene, corroborating the defendant’s version of events.

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