Articles Posted in Violent Crime

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parking lotIn a recent Arizona aggravated assault case, the plaintiff appealed convictions and sentences for aggravated assault and false reporting. For two days in 2015, the victim and the defendant, as well as their girlfriends, drank alcohol in an empty lot. Early on the second morning, the defendant stabbed the victim in the back three times. The victim got the knife away, and the defendant fled. The victim had to undergo an operation for a punctured lung and was hospitalized for eight days.

The police found the defendant walking down the road after learning of the stabbing. When they asked him for an ID, he gave them false names and birthdates. He later told them he’d been knocked out by a black man in a hoodie and denied that he’d stabbed anybody. The victim advised the police that he was stabbed by “J.J.,” which was a nickname the defendant gave them. The defendant was arrested for the stabbing.

Before the trial, the defendant was recorded calling a woman from jail, asking whether the victim planned to testify. He told her the victim would be a snitch if he testified. The caller told him that she’d talked to the victim and that the victim had decided not to pursue charges, although he initially was going to pursue them. The defendant told the woman that the victim would be known as a rat for testifying. The woman said that the victim had texted her he would drop the case, and the defendant told her the steps the victim needed to take to get the charges dropped.

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handcuffsIn a recent Arizona assault case, a man appealed after being convicted of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, shoplifting, and not giving the police a truthful name when he was lawfully detained. The case arose when two cops responded to a department store’s call about a shoplifting suspect who refused to cooperate. When asked why he was causing trouble, the defendant told the cops he was “trouble” and wouldn’t give them his name. He called himself a chief, clenched his fists, and held his hands up in a gesture of wanting to fight. The cops told him he had to give his name under the law, but he refused.

He also wouldn’t comply with his arrest and wouldn’t put his hands behind his back. When the cops took his wrists, he jerked away and fled for the door. He threw a punch. Eventually a cop had to taser him, and then the other cop could cuff him. The surveillance cameras recorded their fight.

Before the trial began, the defendant made a motion to compel disclosure of several contacts with two police officers whom the prosecutor had identified would testify about their opinions. One expert didn’t testify at trial, but the other did. The defendant asked for an email from the prosecutor that asked the expert who didn’t testify to produce a supplemental report on the use of force. With regard to the expert who would testify at trial, the defendant asked for an email from the police to the expert that would ask him to create a supplemental report. The court denied the defendant’s motion for these documents and other emails between the prosecutor and expert witness on the ground that they were work product.

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baseballIn a recent, unpublished Arizona appellate case, a woman was convicted of disorderly conduct and misdemeanor criminal damage. She was sentenced to concurrent terms of imprisonment, and the longer term was 2.25 years.

According to the prosecution, the case arose when the defendant met the father of her child in a parking lot to give him their child. When the father drove up with a woman, the defendant smashed in a window of the car and hit the woman in the face. When the woman got out of the car, the defendant hit her again. The prosecution claimed that she’d committed a dangerous offense in that she’d threatened to discharge or shown a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. A detective testified to the grand jury that the defendant had swung a baseball bat to break the window and then swung the bat at the victim’s arm. The defendant told detectives that the victim had gotten out of the car and threatened her, and this was the reason she got the bat.

At trial, the defendant objected to a jury instruction that stated aggravated assault was based on a reasonable apprehension of assault. Ultimately, the court allowed the prosecution to move forward under theories of assault and reasonable apprehension of assault, but it didn’t give the preliminary jury instruction. It reasoned that if someone were in the car, and somebody broke the window of the car, the person inside the car would be in reasonable apprehension of being hurt.

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phoneIn a recent Arizona appellate case, the defendant appealed his conviction for domestic violence, dangerous offenses, Class 3 felonies, and two counts of aggravated assault. He argued that it was a mistake for the court to admit a 911 call recorded by a victim.

The case arose in 2014 when the defendant got involved in a domestic violence quarrel with his wife. He pointed a gun at her and her mother. The mother called 911, and during the call they discussed what was happening. The mother said her daughter’s husband was threatening them with a gun that he’d just put down during her visit. The mother couldn’t be found to testify at trial.

The defendant tried to preclude evidence of the 911 recording on the grounds that it was made to a law enforcement officer and was used to prove past events that would be relevant to a later criminal prosecution. The lower court denied the defendant’s motion in limine and found that the 911 call could be admitted under the excited utterance exception to the rule against hearsay evidence under Arizona Rules of Evidence 803(2). The court found the mother’s comments weren’t testimonial for the purposes of the Confrontation Clause.

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police carIn a recent unpublished opinion, an Arizona woman appealed convictions for aggravated assault and resisting arrest. The case arose when a deputy sheriff was patrolling and was dispatched to a domestic violence incident. When he got there, he saw two kids outside the defendant’s home, and one was emotional. The kid told the deputy what was happening inside, so he approached the home. He heard a man yelling inside the house and saw the defendant sitting on a couch inside.

He knocked on the door and made eye contact with the defendant. She didn’t open the door, so he knocked some more. She let him into the house but immediately shoved him against the wall. He told her to stop, but she said she wouldn’t stop. He took her to the ground to get control, and she punched him numerous times in the arms and legs. He took out his Taser, and then she stopped resisting. The deputy’s finger was cut.

The woman was arrested for disorderly conduct and aggravated assault in violation of multiple code sections, including A.R.S. section 13-1204 and resisting arrest. The defendant was convicted of aggravated assault and resisting arrest, which are class 6 felonies. Her sentences were suspended, and she was placed on supervised probation for 18 months. The convictions were designated as class 1 misdemeanors, and she had to pay certain assessments.

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gunIn a recent Arizona appellate case, a jury convicted a man of two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of murder. He was sentenced to concurrent terms, with the longer one being 13 years. The victims were two men who were shot and killed and one man who was wounded outside a party at a home. The defendant was convicted as the lone shooter involved.

The surviving victim had come to the party to serve as a deejay, and he knew the defendant from a social media website. Shortly after the victim arrived, the defendant told him that he was carrying a 9 mm pistol. Many witnesses saw him with a black gun that night.

Four or five of the men at the house party argued. The parties agreed there was bad blood between the defendant and one of the victims, based on a fight between the defendant and the victim’s brother. The defendant and the men got into a fistfight. Many people saw the defendant show his gun while they were inside the home.

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gunIn an unpublished Arizona appellate decision, a defendant appealed his convictions and the related sentenced for aggravated assault and armed robbery. The case arose when he came up to a cash register in a liquor store in 2012 and demanded money while threatening the clerk with a handgun. He got more than $450 and started to go. The clerk picked up a baseball bat and told him to stop, and in response, the defendant fired his gun at him, barely missing. He fled.

The police didn’t find the defendant right away. However, a few days later, the clerk was working nearby and saw a customer who looked like the defendant. He called the police, and when an officer looked at the surveillance video, he told the officer he wasn’t sure it was him. The detective decided that the customer in the video wasn’t the defendant.

Based on the clerk’s description, the police later identified two other people of interest, neither of whom had previously committed a robbery. An anonymous tip turned up the defendant. The officer showed the victim a six-photograph photographic lineup. The victim had no problem identifying the defendant.

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bulletsIn a recent unpublished Arizona appellate opinion, the defendant appealed a conviction for aggravated assault, for which he was sentenced to a term of 8 1/2 years imprisonment. The case arose when the defendant’s brother rode a bike to their mom’s house, where his brother lived with the mom. The brother had previously had fights with the defendant. When he came up to the gate, he found it was locked. He realized his mother wasn’t going to come out, so he started to ride off on his bike. His brother fired a gun at him twice, hitting him in the right leg.

The weapon wasn’t located, but police found a bullet in the defendant’s pocket and a bullet in a bag he was carrying right after the shooting. A detective met with the victim in his hospital room and saw a circular wound that looked like a gunshot wound on the victim’s leg. He also observed an x-ray that showed a bullet inside his leg. The victim told the detective that “Cotton” shot him—Cotton was the defendant’s nickname. The defendant was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, which is considered a dangerous offense.

In jail, the defendant called six family members, asking to make sure his brother wouldn’t come to trial to testify against him. He told his mother, sister, niece, and brother the date of the trial and said that if his brother didn’t show up, he wouldn’t be convicted. He also asked his mother to schedule a family meeting with the brother so that she could remind him that if he testified, the defendant would miss family Christmases. He also asked his niece to tell his brother that he would be disowned if he testified. His sister told the defendant that she talked to the victim, and the victim wasn’t going to be a problem. The defendant made many other efforts to get the victim not to show up at trial.

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Any assault against police, by word or conduct, is a felony in Arizona

Aggravated (Felony) Assaults of a police officer is serious in Arizona. Depending on the circumstances, classifications may range from Class 6 felonies, up to Class 2 felonies. The only offenses more serious than Class 2 felonies are reserved for the most serious Class 1 felony crimes, such as homicide.

Felony Assault of Peace Officer Laws

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According the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) crime statistics and reports, there were approximately 26,311 arrests made for violent crimes reported in 2011. An estimated 7,127 of those involved Aggravated Assault charges, and many of those offenses involved use of a deadly weapon. These are extremely serious charges that if convicted, can  result in long term to life prison sentencing in the case of serious injury to a victim; or capital punishment in the case of homicide.

Felony Assault Laws

Assault involving possession or use of a Deadly Weapon or instrument elevates a charge to an Aggravated Assault which is a felony. Arizona defines a “Deadly Weapon” under A.R.S. 13-105 (15) as anything designed for lethal use, and includes firearms.