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Arizona Defendant Unsuccessfully Argues for Reversal Based on Trial Court’s Misconduct

In a recent case before an Arizona court of appeals, the defendant appealed her convictions for theft and fraudulent schemes. The defendant took issue with the trial court’s conduct during her trial, after which a jury found her guilty of mismanaging several trusts and taking trust owners’ money for herself. After looking closely at the trial record, the court of appeals disagreed with the defendant and kept her convictions and sentences in place.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant managed the assets of several trusts. Over time, it became clear that in each trust, the amount of money available to the trust owners was dwindling significantly. Upon investigating, the State discovered that the defendant was taking money out of each trust and using it to pay her credit card bills and fund her personal accounts. She also seemed to be fabricating her records of the time she spent managing the trust, recording unreasonably long hours and explaining that the significant payments were because of the high volume of hours she was working.

The State charged the defendant for mismanaging the trusts, and her case went to trial. At trial, the defendant chose to represent herself, despite being offered an attorney. She made several arguments in an attempt to get the case dismissed, but the trial went forward.

The trial found the defendant guilty of theft and fraudulent schemes, and she was sentenced to time in prison as a result.

The Decision

On appeal, one of the defendant’s main arguments was that the trial court committed misconduct when it oversaw the proceedings. According to the defendant, the court did not allow her to fully litigate her case. It denied many of her motions without really considering them, and it acted in a way that showed its bias against the defendant.

On appeal, the higher court could not find any record of misconduct. The trial court had offered the defendant an attorney, and she had declined. It had also given her ample time to present her motions and make her case, and there was no reason to think it was unfair when ruling on those motions. The Court had not acted “partial, biased, or hostile” in overseeing the trial.

Therefore, said the court, the defendant’s argument was without merit. Her convictions would remain in place.

Do You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney in Arizona?

At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we understand that when you are facing criminal charges, there is too much at stake to do anything but fight back. We represent Arizona defendants with aggressive strategies at the forefront of our litigation, and we pledge to do everything in our power to get our clients’ charges dropped. If you are facing criminal charges in Arizona and you need representation, call us today for a free and confidential consultation at (480) 413-1499. You can also fill out our online form to tell us about your case.


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