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Defendant in Child Neglect Case Asks for New Ruling 16 Years Later

In a recent case before an appeals court in Arizona, a mother asked the court to review the sentence that a lower court handed to her in 2022. Originally, the mother was criminally charged with negligent child abuse in 2006. After a trial in which she was found guilty as charged, the mother was not seen for another 14 years, despite the court’s issuing a warrant for her arrest. In 2022, however, she suddenly filed to quash the warrant in her case. The lower court handed out a sentence despite this request, the mother appealed, and the higher court had to decide whether it agreed with the lower court’s decision.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the mother was charged after a police officer pulled her over as she was driving on the highway in November 2005. The officer talked to the mother and found out she was under the influence of marijuana while her minor child was in the car. In January of the next year, she was indicted on one count of child abuse for putting her child in a dangerous situation.

The case went to trial, but the mother did not appear because she could not travel to Arizona for the proceedings. After two days, however, the jury returned a guilty verdict. The resulting arrest warrant stayed pending between the trial in 2006 and 2022 when the mother suddenly asked the court to quash the warrant.

The Decision

Ultimately, the lower court did not quash the warrant, meaning it ordered the mother to still appear for a sentencing hearing for the 2006 case. She was then sentenced to probation, time in jail, and community service. In her appeal of the sentence, the mother asked the higher court to reconsider this multi-faceted sentence. She had concerns that her rights were not well protected in the original 2006 proceedings, and she wanted a review of the record in the case that was litigated 16 years prior.

Despite the fact that the trial happened so long ago, the court of appeals was able to conduct a thorough review on behalf of the mother. Ultimately, it concluded that she was not deprived of any constitutional rights during the litigation. She had counsel, she was informed of the proceedings, and the judge correctly instructed the jury on how it was supposed to weigh the evidence in the case.

Because there was no error in the record, the higher court denied the mother’s request and ordered her to complete the sentence mandated by the trial court.

Are You Looking for a Criminal Defense Attorney in Arizona?

Litigating criminal cases in the state of Arizona is tough work, especially those crimes involving children – many attorneys without the necessary experience and strategy can find themselves floundering when faced with difficult rules and exceptional circumstances. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we bring over 17 years of experience defending the accused in Arizona, and we employ aggressive strategies to make sure our clients’ voices are heard. For a free and confidential consultation about your criminal charges, call us today at 480-413-1499.


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