Articles Posted in Appeals

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in an Arizona homicide case discussing the admissibility of the defendant’s diagnosis for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Being an issue of first impression, the court was required to fashion a rule to determine the admissibility of such diagnoses, ultimately concluding that the evidence should not be admissible.

The Facts of the Case

The defendant was nine months pregnant when she shot her boyfriend, the father of her child, in the head, killing him. When asked by detectives, the defendant explained that her boyfriend was abusive and had woken her up by kicking her in the stomach. He also told her that he did not want the baby.

The state charged the defendant with first-degree murder. A few days later, she gave birth, and the state sought to terminate her parental rights. In that proceeding, several experts testified that the defendant suffered from PTSD; however, they noted that the defendant did not answer any questions about the shooting.

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“Probation is a privilege that cannot be denied under AMMA; Penalties & criminal defense for probation violations.”

Nearly 5 years after the passing of Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) the Arizona Supreme Court heard two cases involving denial of the privilege of qualified patients to use marijuana.

The Arizona Supreme Court held that a condition included in terms of their probation that denies Registered Qualified Patients the right to use medical marijuana is invalid and unenforceable.

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A recent ruling could mean that a motorist who last smoked Marijuana in a legal state a month prior to traveling to Arizona, may be arrested and prosecuted for Marijuana DUI.

An Arizona Court of Appeals marijuana DUI dismissal was overturned recently in favor of the prosecution, and returned the case to the Superior Court for continued prosecution proceedings.

The issue in question was whether or not a motorist could be prosecuted for driving under the influence of Marijuana, even if the only evidence was blood test results that revealed a chemical compound that does not cause impairment; but can remain in the blood stream for a month.

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The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Reversed a Drug Conviction recently based on the cumulative effect of violations resulting in error by the lower court.

The errors pertained to two denials of requests for discovery by the defendant and violations in Rules of Criminal Procedure for sentencing.

The panel found that although the lower court abused its discretion in denying certain discovery requests by the defendant because the record did not clearly establish what exculpatory evidence, if any, may have been produced if the request had been granted; and what effect it may  have had on the trial outcome. As a result, The 9th District court vacated the conviction and remanded for continued proceedings to include evidentiary hearings.