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Arizona Court Denies Defendant’s Appeal Based on Insufficient Evidence

In a recent opinion in an Arizona case involving stolen jewelry, the defendant’s request for a new verdict was denied. After having been found guilty of selling stolen property, the defendant appealed by arguing there was insufficient evidence to support her guilty verdict. She also argued that it was actually her co-defendant who should be punished and that she should not be forced to pay the amount of the jewelry. The court disagreed, saying both that the evidence was sufficient to support a guilty verdict and it that was right for the defendant to be the one made to pay the money.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, two defendants were involved in a trafficking charge that revolved around stolen jewelry and an attempt to sell that jewelry to a coin and gold shop. One of the defendants had taken the pieces from an individual’s home, then had given them to the second defendant to sell. When the defendant went into the shop and began showing the pieces to the store owner, it became quickly apparent that the defendant did not know any information about where the pieces had come from or how much money they were worth.

Suspicious, the store owner called detectives after the encounter. When detectives contacted the defendant, she claimed she found the jewelry discarded on the side of the road. The defendant could not, however, provide any details about how or where she found the pieces. At trial, the State charged the defendant with one count of second-degree trafficking in stolen property. She was ordered to pay the store owner as well as the original owner of the jewelry for the cost of the pieces – in total, $13,810.

The Court’s Decision

On appeal, the defendant made two main arguments. First, she argued that there was not enough evidence to support her guilty conviction. The court could not prove, said the defendant, that she had intended to sell stolen property to the store owner. The court disagreed, saying instead that it was clear from the evidence that the defendant entered the shop intending to sell the jewelry. At the time, the defendant behaved “suspiciously” and gave vague, unclear responses when the storeowner asked why she had the jewelry in the first place. Because of her demeanor, it was reasonable for the jury to think that the defendant intended to sell stolen jewelry.

Secondly, the defendant argued that she should not have to pay for the jewelry: her co-defendant, the one who stole the jewelry, should be the one forced to pay the $13,000. The court disagreed with the defendant’s argument, saying that because her intent was to profit off the jewelry, it was only fair that she be the one to pay the money. The defendant’s unlawful possession of the jewelry is what resulted in economic loss for the original jewelry owner; therefore, the lower court was correct in ordering her to pay the prescribed amount.

Have You Been Charged with Trafficking Stolen Property in Arizona?

If you or a loved one have been charged with selling stolen items in Arizona, there are possible defenses you can raise to fight your charges. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we are a team of committed criminal defense attorneys who know the law and are ready to stand by your side. With over a decade of experience in the field, we have successfully defended hundreds of cases throughout the State, and we are ready to use our expertise to make sure your voice is heard. For a free and confidential consultation, call us at 480-413-1499.

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