Articles Posted in Violent Crime

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Arizona residents who have been convicted of a felony criminal offense are automatically restricted from owning firearms after their conviction is entered. Arizona law allows restricted persons to later petition the court to set aside their felony convictions and restore the right to own firearms. Felons with non-dangerous felony convictions can ask the court to set aside the conviction if all of the incarceration and probation conditions have been satisfied, and the appellant has been discharged by the court. An Arizona woman recently had her application to set aside two felony convictions denied by the court, and the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed the lower ruling.

According to the facts discussed in a recently published appellate opinion affecting the ruling of the court, the appellant pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and felony harassment based on conduct that occurred in 2009. As part of the plea agreement, the court noted the two felony charges as “non-dangerous” offenses. After completing her probation, the appellant petitioned the court to set aside her convictions and restore her firearm ownership rights. The trial court denied the appellant’s request, ruling that while the requirements were met for the court to consider setting aside the convictions, the court was concerned by the nature of the crimes, and was exercising its discretion by denying the appellant’s request.

The woman appealed the trial court’s denial of her motion to set aside the conviction to the Arizona Court of Appeals. The appellant argued that the plea documentation stating her crimes were “non-dangerous” compelled the court to set aside her convictions. The Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling that while “dangerous crimes” are absolutely ineligible to be set aside for this purpose, crimes defined as “non-dangerous” may still justifiably concern the court, and result in a legally acceptable denial of a motion to restore firearm ownership rights. Because the lower court made clear findings on the record that the appellant’s use of firearms in committing the initial crimes was concerning, and warranted denial of her motion, the appellate court chose not to disturb the lower court’s discretion. As a result of the two court rulings, the appellant will not be permitted to purchase or own firearms.

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This past month, an appeals court in Arizona ruled on a defendant’s appeal of the lower court’s decision on his motion to suppress. After the defendant had been charged with a series of violent crimes, he asked the trial court to suppress evidence of incriminating messages that investigators found on his Facebook account. After the first court denied this motion, the defendant appealed, and the higher court took the matter under advisement.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, investigators were looking into the murder of a local woman when they began to suspect the defendant in this case. They obtained a search warrant from a court, and thus got permission to look through the defendant’s social media accounts to see if they could find any leads.

Upon looking at the defendant’s Facebook account, the investigators found a message that he had sent a friend with a picture of the dead victim. In the message, the defendant wrote, “look what I did.” Investigators used this information to find more incriminating evidence against the defendant, and he was eventually criminally charged.

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Recently, an Arizona court denied a defendant’s appeal in an aggravated assault case. Originally, the defendant was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assisting a criminal street gang by committing aggravated assault. On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court improperly admitted evidence showing he had exchanged Facebook messages with a member of a local gang. The court reviewed the record and ultimately concluded that the evidence was properly admitted, denying the defendant’s appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, three officers were dispatched to a site of reported graffiti one evening. When the officers arrived, they found graffiti symbolizing one of the gangs in the local town. As they investigated, the officers spotted two men, the defendant and one other individual, approaching them. It appeared to the officers as if both men were making gang signs with their hands.

The man walking with the defendant pulled out a gun and began firing. The officers shot back, and a chase ensued. Moments later, the officers caught the defendant after seeing him boost the second individual over a wall. Both men were caught and criminally charged.

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Late last month, the Arizona Court of Appeals considered whether a defendant acquitted of a disorderly conduct charge should be granted reconsideration of a separate aggravated assault charge. The defendant involved in the case had originally been charged with both disorderly conduct and aggravated assault, but a jury acquitted him of the disorderly conduct charge and convicted him of the aggravated assault charge. In the defendant’s appeal, he argued that acquittal on one charge meant his second charge should also be reconsidered. Ultimately, the court disagreed, and the defendant’s original verdict was sustained.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant in this case was staying with his sister in her home for a few days, along with his two children and her three children. Early one morning, the defendant was in the home, yelling at his youngest child. The defendant’s sister, watching the incident unfold, stepped in and demanded that the defendant stop yelling.

After a few moments of arguing, the defendant balled up his fists and began sprinting toward his sister. He backed her into a wall, at which point he dropped his forehead into her face. The headbutt fractured the sister’s nasal bone. One of the children immediately called 911, and the defendant was charged with aggravated assault as well as disorderly conduct.

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In a recent appeal coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant argued that his conviction for aggravated assault should be reversed. According to the defendant, the trial judge had improperly denied him the right to present an expert witness and thus that his defense was incomplete. The higher court examined the trial record and disagreed with the defendant, affirming his original conviction.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the alleged assault that precipitated this case occurred at an auto repair shop in 2019. The victim drove to pick up his truck from the shop after having received standard services on his vehicle. After paying for the services, the victim went to his car to drive away but realized there was another vehicle blocking his car that prevented him from moving.

The victim returned to the shop and asked if anyone knew who’s car was directly behind his. One of the repair shop workers replied that it was his car and said that he would move the car after he had finished eating his lunch. The victim, unhappy about this statement, went to the parking lot to begin moving his car anyway.

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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.

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In a recent case coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant appealed his convictions for first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, and aggravated assault. The defendant challenged the trial court’s decisions, and the higher court concluded that the defendant was rightfully found guilty. There was another issue, though, that the court wanted to address: because it was not clear whether or not the prosecution had excluded a potential jury member based on her race, the court remanded the case to the lower court.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was in a romantic relationship for several years, eventually living with his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s grandmother for a period of time. In late 2016, the defendant and his girlfriend got in a fight, and the girlfriend asked him to move out. The defendant kept one house key to himself and began living in his truck.

A few weeks later, the defendant used his key to let himself into the house. While he was there, the defendant’s ex-girlfriend and another man entered the house. The defendant fought with both individuals and retrieved a metal bar that he then used to threaten them. He eventually exchanged the metal bar for knives from the kitchen, which he put in both of his hands and brought into his ex-girlfriend’s bedroom. At that point, the defendant attacked the man that his girlfriend had supposedly been seeing. He stabbed the man seventeen times and also cut his ex-girlfriend’s arm when she attempted to intervene.

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In a recent assault case coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant appealed his guilty verdict. At trial, the prosecutor referenced eight prior convictions on the defendant’s record, and the defendant argued that this reference unnecessarily biased the jury deciding his case. The court looked to Arizona law and ultimately disagreed with the defendant, deciding it was acceptable for the prosecutor to mention the prior convictions during trial. Given this disagreement, the court maintained the defendant’s original guilty verdict.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant and his girlfriend got into an altercation one evening in January 2019. At the time, the couple lived together at the girlfriend’s mother’s home with their child. After the altercation, the defendant left the home and consumed alcohol, returning to find his girlfriend and one of her friends in the house.

The couple again started to fight, this time physically. The defendant hit his girlfriend several times, bloodied her nose, and “choke slammed” her onto the bed. When the girlfriend’s friend attempted to intervene, the defendant pushed her out of the way and continued hitting his girlfriend. Police arrived at the scene, but by that point, the defendant had left the home.

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In a recent Arizona case involving assault and attempted murder, the defendant’s attempt at appealing the trial court’s decision was denied. The defendant made four different arguments after having been charged and found guilty of aggravated assault and attempted first-degree murder, but the court ultimately disagreed with him, upholding his original verdict.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, a police officer was driving around 2:00 am when he noticed a car drive past him at a dangerously high speed. The officer turned on his emergency lights and stopped the vehicle, prompting the defendant to stop his car on the side of the road. Immediately, the defendant emerged and began running towards the officer with a gun in his hand, shooting at the officer in the process. The officer returned fire, and the two continued shooting at each other. The officer walked away from the incident uninjured, while the defendant sustained multiple gunshot wounds.

At trial, the officer testified that it was unclear which of the two men began firing first. Even though the officer’s memory of the events was blurry, the defendant was convicted for one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of attempted first-degree murder. The trial court sentenced him to thirty-five years in prison.

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Recently, an Arizona court denied a defendant’s appeal in an assault case. The defendant had been found guilty of aggravated assault after a woman he knew accused him of significantly injuring her when they were both in her apartment. The defendant appealed, arguing that the state should not have been allowed to bring in evidence of his previous felony convictions at trial. He also argued that the state failed to look at and preserve important evidence that would have worked in his favor. Ultimately, the court disagreed and denied the defendant’s appeal.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant and a female companion of his went to a music venue where the defendant performed as a DJ. The defendant consumed enough alcohol to become intoxicated, while his female companion did not drink at all. The pair went back to the woman’s apartment, where the defendant soon became very upset and yanked one of the apartment’s doors from its hinges. The woman asked the defendant to leave, but he refused.

The woman soon blacked out on the floor of her apartment. When she woke up, she felt as if the room were spinning. She saw the defendant close the door and walk towards her; she blacked out another time and later found herself sitting on the floor with the defendants’ hands over her mouth and nose. The woman called 9-1-1 and was taken to the hospital, where she found pieces of her cell phone in her hair. She had several serious injuries she had not had before the incident, including injuries to her head, bruising, and scratches on various parts of her body.

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