Articles Posted in Violent Crime

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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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In today’s connected society, physical borders are becoming increasingly blurred. More than ever, we interact with people from across the nation—and the globe—on a regular basis. However, when we use the Internet, much of our information is also stored electronically. The availability and access to online data is a hot topic in criminal law and raises many valid concerns. For example, recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in an Arizona attempted homicide case requiring the court to determine if and when an Arizona court can issue a search warrant pertaining to evidence located outside of Arizona.

The Facts of the Case

The case involved a woman who allegedly tried to poison her husband. According to the court’s opinion, the woman’s husband collapsed after a dinner party. The man’s wife called 911, and emergency workers took the man to the hospital. At the hospital, the woman told doctors to communicate only with her about her husband’s condition.

Through routine testing, medical workers discovered that he had high levels of ethylene glycol—the main compound in anti-freeze—in his blood. Doctors asked the man’s family if they found any anti-freeze in the house. This surprised the family, who were previously unaware that he had high levels of ethylene glycol in his blood. Upon learning this information, the couple’s children called the police.

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Restitution is when a court orders a defendant to pay a crime victim for their financial losses related to the crime. Unlike civil law, restitution is typically limited to the costs that the victim actually incurred. In a recent Arizona murder case, the state’s high court discussed the constitutional limits on the court’s ability to place a cap on the amount of restitution in a criminal case absent the victim’s consent. However, unlike the vast majority of criminal cases, this case discussed the crime victim’s constitutional rights, rather than the defendant. Of course, the court’s decision impacts criminal defendants in that it increases the amount of potential restitution they could be forced to pay.

The Facts of the Case

A detailed recitation of the fact is not necessary to fully understand the import of the court’s opinion. However, in summary, three defendants were charged with abusing and killing a younger family member. All three defendants plead guilty to a lesser offense. As a part of the plea agreement, the defendant would pay the victim’s family restitution. However, under the terms of the plea agreement, the maximum amount of restitution is limited to $500,000. The victim’s family objected to the cap on restitution, but the court upheld the cap and proceeded with the pleas. The victim’s family appealed the lower court’s decision.

On appeal, the court first addressed the state’s argument that the court should wait to see if the cap on restitution actually limited the recovery amount. However, the court rejected this argument, noting that there is no requirement for caps on restitution.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an opinion requiring the court to determine whether the defendant’s Miranda rights were violated when the police took a statement from the defendant while he was not in custody. Ultimately, the court concluded that Arizona criminal law permitted the officers’ actions, and that the statement was properly admitted into evidence at trial.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the defendant was a handyman who was working for a landlord. One day, the defendant and the landlord’s property manager were scheduled to meet up so that the defendant could give the property manager rent he had collected from tenants. During the meeting, which took place in a home, the defendant shot the property manager with a shotgun, killing him instantly.

Later that day, the defendant’s friend came over to the home, and the defendant showed his friend the body. The friend helped the defendant bury the body in the backyard. The defendant later sold two of the property manager’s rings to a jewelry store. The jewelry store owner later saw a picture of the victim wearing the rings, and provided them to detectives.

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