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Arizona Defendant Loses Appeal After Firearm Incident

In a recent case published by an appeals court in Arizona, the defendant asked that his convictions for aggravated assault and disorderly conduct be vacated. The defendant was charged after an incident on a campground during which he allegedly pulled out his gun and shot in the direction of two children. A jury found him guilty, and the defendant appealed.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was camping one evening when two young boys came riding on ATVs near his campsite. Frustrated with the noise, the defendant began yelling at the boys to get away from his campsite. When that did not work, he pulled out a handgun and fired two shots near where the boys were riding.

The boys’ parents came to talk to the defendant after their children came back to their own campsite, rattled by what had happened. At that point, the defendant admitted to the parents that he has fired two shots in kids’ general direction. He claimed that the kids were recklessly driving and leaving track marks all over his campsite, but when police officers arrived a few minutes later, they could not find track marks within 60 feet of the defendant’s campsite.

The defendant was charged with aggravated assault and disorderly conduct, and his case went to trial. A jury found him guilty as charged, and the defendant appealed.

The Decision

On appeal, the defendant argued there was insufficient evidence to support his guilty conviction and that it should thus be reversed. According to the defendant, he was acting in response to the boys’ reckless behavior. He thus argued that he was not intending to put the kids in danger but instead was responding to their actions in a reasonable way.

The higher court looked at the evidence in the record and decided that the evidence was, in fact, sufficient to support a guilty verdict. Several facts led the court to this conclusion: the officers could not find any evidence of reckless behavior on the kids’ part, the defendant had admitted to firing in the kids’ direction when asked by the kids’ parents, and at least once witness was able to corroborate the kids’ story. Because all of these facts were working against the defendant, the court decided to deny his appeal and sustain the original guilty verdict.

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