Articles Posted in Violent Crime

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In a recent case coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant and the government agreed that the trial court should have granted the defendant certain rights that it unrightfully denied her. Both the defendant and the government indicated this error in their filings, and the appellate court reviewed the record to see if it, too, agreed that the trial court should have granted the defendant several rights that it denied her. The court ultimately granted the defendant’s request, giving her the right to own a firearm.

Overall, this case serves as a reminder that having thorough counsel for a criminal case can make all of the difference; by hiring an attorney that can catch mistakes like the one this defendant’s counsel caught, you can give yourself the best possible chance of retaining and restoring your freedoms that might otherwise be at risk.

Basis for the Appeal

The law in Arizona says that after a first-time felony offender finishes probation, he or she is entitled to the restoration of his or her civil rights. Here, the defendant was a first-time felony offender convicted of attempted aggravated assault and endangerment. She completed her required three years of probation. After the three years, the defend asked the court to restore her civil rights; the court granted one request by restoring her right to vote, which is traditionally taken away from incarcerated defendants.

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In a recent case before an Arizona court of appeals, the defendant argued that his convictions and sentences for aggravated assault should be reversed. According to the defendant, the expert that testified on behalf of the prosecution during trial should not have been allowed to present himself as an expert. The court of appeals reviewed the officer’s qualifications, disagreed with the defendant’s analysis, and ultimately denied the defendant’s appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the court-issued opinion, the defendant in this case was driving 80 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone. His car hit another car from behind, and both vehicles flipped over and eventually stopped on a nearby embankment. The driver of the front car was taken to the hospital, and doctors later diagnosed her with fractured bones, fractured ribs, a broken sternum, and lacerations throughout her body.

The defendant was charged with aggravated assault, and a jury convicted him as charged. The trial court then sentenced the defendant to three different prison terms for each of the three counts of aggravated assault of which he was found guilty. He promptly appealed the findings.

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In a recent criminal case before an appellate court in Arizona, the defendant challenged the trial court’s decision to deny his motion for a new trial. Originally, a jury found the defendant guilty of several crimes, including aggravated assault and attempted arson. He filed a motion for a new trial after the jury returned a guilty verdict, arguing that the evidence at trial did not support the jury’s ultimate decision. Once the trial court denied this motion, the defendant appealed.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant assaulted his partner in her home. The defendant’s partner was ultimately able to escape, but when she returned to the home about half an hour later, the defendant immediately asked her if she smelled any gas. It became clear to the partner that the defendant was attempting to burn the house down.

The partner called 911, and emergency responders quickly arrived at the scene. The firefighters were able to keep the explosion from happening, and police officers arrested the defendant. He was charged with the following crimes: felony endangerment, aggravated assault, attempted sexual assault, kidnapping, and attempted arson.

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In a recent case before an appellate court in Arizona, the defendant asked the court to interpret a 2022 amendment to Arizona law in a way that would favor overturning his guilty verdict. Originally, the defendant was charged with and found guilty of first-degree murder. After receiving his guilty verdict, the defendant appealed, arguing that the higher court should closely critique the trial court’s decision to allow a certain jury member to serve on the case. Looking at the 2022 amendment regarding jury selection as well as the facts of this case, the higher court denied the defendant’s appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant went to trial on charges after he allegedly murdered his girlfriend. Before trial, both the prosecution and the defense proceeded with questioning potential jury members. The defense attorney objected to one juror in particular, who had close connections in her personal life to the kind of case that was on trial. The trial court, however, allowed the juror to serve, and the trial went forward.

The defendant was found guilty, and he promptly appealed.

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In an August 2023 case before an Arizona court of appeals, the State of Arizona appealed a trial court’s order suppressing a defendant’s DNA profile. The DNA in question connected the defendant with a 2015 murder, leading the State to charge him with first-degree murder, second-degree burglary, and sexual assault. After the State filed charges, the lower court determined that the DNA was obtained illegally, and it suppressed the DNA evidence. The State then appealed this decision.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, investigators discovered the body of a dead woman in her apartment several years ago, in 2015. The murder went unsolved, as the investigators were unable to link any suspect to the incident.

Several years later, investigators conducted what is called a “familial DNA test” on the evidence from the 2015 crime scene. They discovered that an Arizona inmate was a close relative of the person whose DNA had been on the woman’s body. Investigating further, they then discovered that the inmate’s brother lived very close to the 2015 murder victim.

Because officers had previously arrested the inmate’s brother for several DUIs, they had already drawn this individual’s blood in the past. They then tested this blood, which they still had on file. The blood matched the unknown DNA from the murder scene several years prior.

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In a recent case before an appeals court in Arizona, the defendant asked the court to reconsider his convictions for aggravated assault and child abuse. He primarily argued that the trial court should not have denied a motion to suppress incriminating evidence – the denial of the motion was unfair, and it eventually contributed to his guilty convictions. Examining the trial court’s decision, the court of appeals denied the defendant’s argument and decided against siding with the defendant.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, this case began when a mother brought her 8-month-old baby to an emergency room due to a head injury. Doctors examined the baby and learned he had been shot in the head. The baby went through treatment, and he eventually left the hospital with cerebral palsy, impaired vision, and a lifelong increased risk for seizure. The doctors considered the baby lucky to be alive.

Investigators began trying to figure out how the baby got shot. Officers obtained a search warrant and went to the baby’s father’s home, where they found a pellet gun rifle, pellets, and a car seat covered in blood. Two officers interviewed the baby’s dad in a patrol car that same day, and he admitted that he might have accidentally shot his baby while shooting quail.

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In a recent case before an Arizona court of appeals, the defendant argued that his confession should have been suppressed at the trial court level. Originally, the defendant was convicted of second-degree murder, and after he was found guilty, he asked the higher court to reconsider the unfavorable verdict. After reviewing the case and ultimately agreeing with the defendant’s argument, the court vacated the verdict and the associated sentences.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the victim in this case drove up to a gas station one evening, got into an altercation with another individual, and was eventually shot in the leg. Because of blood loss associated with the shooting, the victim later died. Local police officers immediately began an investigation, which led them to the defendant in this case.

The officers obtained a search warrant and used that search warrant to collect DNA from the defendant. They connected the defendant’s DNA with DNA from the crime scene, which they told the defendant during his interrogation. After hearing this information, the defendant confessed to the crime.

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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.

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Last month, an Arizona court of appeals delivered an unfavorable decision for a defendant convicted of aggravated assault. The defendant was found guilty of the assault after a jury trial, and she promptly appealed by arguing that some of the evidence admitted at trial should not have been part of the case. Considering this argument, the court of appeals ultimately denied the defendant’s appeal, and her original conviction and sentence remained in place.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was staying with a friend in his spare bedroom for a temporary period of time. Eventually, the friend asked the defendant to leave, and she became angry. She refused to pack up and leave, and she began destroying parts of the friend’s property in retaliation.

After several days of this behavior, the friend insisted that the defendant leave immediately. She again refused. The friend found the defendant in the spare bedroom and noticed that a previously standing mirror was lying on the floor. The friend turned to pick up the mirror, and the defendant immediately shot the friend in the neck.

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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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