Published on:

Arizona Defendant in Assault Case Unsuccessfully Appeals Convictions, Despite Argument that Identification Process was Unfair

In a recent case coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant unsuccessfully appealed his convictions for aggravated assault, kidnapping, and robbery. Originally, the defendant was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to 82 years in prison. Despite arguing on appeal that the trial court should have suppressed the victim’s method of identifying him as the primary suspect in the case, the defendant was unsuccessful in his attempts and the convictions were affirmed.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the victim in this case was at home with family members when the defendant arrived at her house. The defendant forced his way into the home and immediately asked where the victim kept her drugs. He threatened to kill the victim’s father, who was in the house if no one told him where he could find marijuana. The defendant held the victim and her father at gunpoint while his accomplice searched the house.

After a few minutes, the defendant stole some items from the victim, including the victim’s cell phone, and went out to put the items in his car. At that point, the victim shut and locked the front door, preventing the defendant from re-entering. The defendant left the scene, and police officers located and charged him after using a tracking device to find the victim’s cell phone.

The Decision

Part of the evidence against the defendant at trial was the victim’s identification of him using a photo line-up. Prior to trial, police officers had shown the victim a series of photographs, asking her if any of the men in the photos matched the defendant. She responded affirmatively, pointing to the photo of the defendant.

The defendant argued at trial that the identification process was prejudicial and thus unfair to him. According to the defendant, the bottom row of pictures that included his own was brighter than the row of pictures on top. This fact could have led the victim to choose his photo when she might not have chosen it otherwise.

When the trial court denied the motion to suppress this identification process, the defendant appealed; however, the court of appeals agreed with the lower court. The court of appeals could not find any evidence suggesting that the identification process was unfair, and it disagreed that the brightness of the photos had an impact on how the victim ended up selecting the defendant.

Given this disagreement, the defendant’s appeal was denied.

Have You Been Charged with a Violent Crime in Arizona?

At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we are well experienced in consulting with clients on tough criminal cases, and we understand how important it is to have an expert on your side as you weigh your various options. If you have been charged with a violent crime in Arizona, contact our office – we can offer you the aggressive, qualified representation you need. For your free and confidential consultation, call us at 480-413-1499. You can also send us an online message to have your questions answered.

Contact Information