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In a recent case before the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One, the defendant asked for a reconsideration of her convictions and sentences for felony endangerment. According to the defendant, the evidence presented at trial did not sufficiently prove that she endangered the two victims in the case, and her verdict should be overturned. The higher court reviewed the trial court’s record, analyzed the case, and eventually affirmed the original ruling.

Felony Endangerment

According to the relevant Arizona statute, felony endangerment involves “recklessly endangering another person with a substantial risk of imminent death.” In order to prove felony endangerment, the prosecution must provide sufficient evidence of every one of these elements – i.e., the defendant must have been reckless, she must have endangered another person, and the person must have faced a substantial risk of imminent death. Without addressing even one of these elements, the prosecution cannot meet its burden of proving felony endangerment.

The Defendant’s Case

Here, the facts of the defendant’s case were the following: the defendant was driving at night with a blood alcohol content of between .073 and .09, well above the legal limit. She drove closely behind another vehicle, repeatedly veering into the vehicle’s lane. At some point, the driver and passenger of the second car stopped and got out of the car to approach the defendant. The defendant hit the driver’s car with her hand, then got back into her vehicle and continued following the car and veering in and out of its lane.

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Recently, the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One, issued an opinion regarding an Arizona statute requiring cars to stop at a red light. The opinion went beyond the traffic implications of this statute, delving into the question of what happens when an individual violates the statute and ends up causing serious physical injury or death to another person. Ultimately, the court concluded that the statute does not require a vehicle to have entered the intersection before causing an accident, meaning that defendants can be subject to the statute’s penalties whether or not their cars were in the intersection prior to causing the serious physical injury or death.

The Statutes in Question

The statute that the court first examined is often called the “red-light statute,” and it requires cars to stop at red lights. Under an accompanying statute, the “enhanced penalty statute,” “[a] person is guilty of causing serious physical injury or death by a moving violation if the person violates [the red-light statute] and the violation results in an accident causing serious physical injury or death.”

Essentially, the enhanced penalty statute means that if an individual violates the red-light statute, and if that violation leads to injury or death, the individual can face additional repercussions than he or she would face if only the red-light statute were in play. The enhanced penalty statute delivers harsher consequences for a driver that causes an accident at the intersection of a red light.

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In a January 2024 opinion issued by the Arizona Supreme Court, the question of whether the State can appeal a trial court’s decision to expunge a defendant’s record was at issue. The court had to decide whether the State was legally able to challenge a lower court’s order granting a defendant’s request for expungement and restoration of his civil rights, which was issued in response to a marijuana-related offense. On appeal, the court concluded that the State had a reasonable right to challenge the lower court’s order, given that the drug offense ultimately affected the “substantial rights of the State.”


This case was based on an incident in which the State charged a defendant with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of narcotic drugs. The State charged the defendant in 2011, and the defendant pleaded guilty to several of his charges several months later. As part of this plea, the defendant admitted to having provided the means to another to sell or transport marijuana.

Nine years after the guilty plea, Arizona adopted Proposition 207, which is a law allowing trial courts to erase (or “expunge”) defendants’ records when the records pertain to a certain category of marijuana offenses. Because the defendant’s offense was eligible for expungement, he filed a petition with the trial court. The trial court granted the petition, and the State appealed.

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Arizona prosecutions for domestic violence and sexual assault cases often hinge on whether the victim can have the suspect admit to criminal behavior while law enforcement is recording the interaction. A recent judicial opinion in Arizona sheds light on the use of these recorded “confrontation calls” in criminal cases, emphasizing the need for individuals to be aware of their rights during such encounters.

According to the facts discussed in the recently published judicial opinion, the defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress statements made during a confrontation call between the defendant and his stepdaughter organized by the Avondale Police Department. The defendant faced molestation charges involving his step-granddaughters, and the confrontation call with the victim’s mother became a pivotal point in the legal proceedings. The court’s decision centered on the admissibility of the defendant’s statements during the recorded call, addressing concerns of coercion and voluntariness.

A confrontation call is a strategy employed by law enforcement to obtain statements from a suspect through a recorded phone conversation. In Arizona, such calls can be recorded with the consent of just one party involved, providing a legal framework for their use. In the recent case, the confrontation call aimed to gather his perspective on the alleged incidents and assess the admissibility of his statements.

In a December 2023 case before an Arizona court of appeals, the defendant asked for a reconsideration of the lower court’s sentencing decision in her child abuse case. She was originally charged with and convicted of negligent child abuse, and she asked the higher court to conduct a review of the record, to ensure the lower court arrived at the verdict and resulting sentence fairly. Finding no fundamental error in the trial court’s record, the court of appeals affirmed.

Facts of the Case

This case revolved around a 2011 incident in which the defendant and her husband mistreated a ten-year old girl that was living with them at the time. According to the opinion, the couple subjected the girl to cruel punishment by making her remain in a backbend position for at least one hour after she took a popsicle without permission. They then locked the girl inside a storage box in a room without any air conditioning, where she eventually died.

The defendant was convicted of many offenses, including first-degree murder, intentional child abuse, and negligent child abuse. She appealed the lower court’s sentencing decision on the negligent child abuse offense.

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In a recent case before an appeals court in Arizona, the defendant asked that the court decide that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for drug possession. The court disagreed with the defendant, affirming his guilty verdict. The court’s opinion highlights the fact that, even if you are not driving a car that is registered in your name, you could still be liable for the car’s contents.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, police officers conducted a routine traffic stop one evening by pulling over the defendant’s wife. The defendant’s wife was driving the car registered in the defendant’s name, and upon conducting the traffic stop, the officers found drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine in the vehicle. The defendant was indicted on possession of dangerous drugs and possession or use of drug paraphernalia.

The defendant pled not guilty, and his case went to trial. After a jury found him guilty, the defendant promptly appealed the verdict.

The Decision

In his appeal, the defendant argued that it was his wife driving the car, not him. There was not, therefore, sufficient evidence for a jury to find that he possessed the paraphernalia and the drugs, and his conviction should be reversed.

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In a recent case before a court in Arizona, the defendant appealed convictions for burglary, kidnapping, and intimidating. He was originally charged after an incident in which he trapped his ex-girlfriend in his home and attempted to keep her there against her will. A jury found the defendant guilty, and despite his subsequent appeal, the higher court affirmed the original verdict.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant and his girlfriend broke up in the spring of 2019. Two months after their breakup, the defendant broke into his ex-girlfriend’s home one evening when she was sleeping, turning on her bedroom light and standing over her in an intimidating way. He told his ex-girlfriend that he had a knife, and that if she did not come with him, he would arrange for her family to be killed.

The pair drove to the defendant’s home, where he grabbed his ex-girlfriend and threw her on his bed. She was eventually able to escape and call for help. She also got the police involved, and they arrested the defendant and charged him with the following offenses: attempt to commit sexual assault, burglary in the second degree, kidnapping, and threatening or intimidating. A jury eventually found the defendant guilty of all charges except for attempt to commit sexual assault. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

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Facing criminal charges can be an arduous journey, and the prospect of a successful appeal post-conviction can be even more challenging. In a recent Arizona case, the defendant appealed his convictions for aggravated assault and related charges. This blog post explores the difficulties encountered in pursuing a criminal appeal after a conviction.

According to the facts discussed in the recently decided appellate opinion, the defendant was charged with aggravated assault, endangerment, disorderly conduct with a weapon, and misconduct involving weapons after an incident in June 2021 when he allegedly fired shots inside a crowded bar, injuring two patrons. The defendant was convicted after seven-day jury trial. Despite raising several issues in his appellate brief, the court, after careful review, found no error in the proceedings.

Forensic Testing

The defendant argued that insufficient forensic testing and a potential misidentification warranted a reversal of his conviction. However, the court emphasized the sufficiency of evidence presented during the trial, including eyewitness accounts and video surveillance, corroborating the bouncers’ testimony.

Credibility of Witnesses

The defendant challenged the credibility of various witnesses, a common tactic in appeals. However, the court reiterated that witness credibility is a matter for the jury to decide during trial, and the defendant had the opportunity to impeach witnesses during proceedings.

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In a recent case before a court of appeals in Arizona, the defendant took issue with evidence that the lower court admitted during his trial. Originally, the defendant was charged with aggravated domestic violence. His case went to trial, a jury found him guilty, and the defendant appealed, arguing that one of the police officer’s body camera videos should not have been part of the trial. After reviewing the defendant’s argument, the higher court ultimately disagreed and affirmed the lower court’s ruling.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was charged after a pedestrian saw him and his partner arguing on the sidewalk. Apparently, the defendant had pulled his partner’s hair, hit her on the head, and snatched her phone from her hand to throw it on the ground. Once police officers arrived to investigate, the defendant’s partner was at their son’s school, where she had been heading when the altercation ensued. She was in the front office, visibly upset.

The State charged the defendant with aggravated domestic violence. During trial, the State introduced evidence of the police officer’s body camera, which showed the defendant’s partner’s demeanor and distress when she was in the school’s front office. The jury found the defendant guilty, and he promptly appealed.

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In a recent case before an Arizona court of appeals, the State challenged the lower court’s decision to suppress evidence of drugs that an officer found in a defendant’s vehicle. An officer originally pulled the defendant over for a traffic violation, and after a prolonged stop, the officer found drugs in the defendant’s vehicle. When the defendant filed a motion to suppress, the lower court granted it. On appeal, the higher court affirmed this ruling, siding with the defendant by affirming that the incriminating evidence was rightfully suppressed.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, an officer noticed while on patrol that the defendant was following another car too closely as he drove by. The officer stopped the defendant and immediately began asking him questions about where he was headed. As he continued to ask questions, the officer asked the defendant to leave his vehicle and sit in the passenger seat of the patrol car.

The officer explained to the defendant that his job was to find individuals that were trafficking drugs. He also assured the defendant that he would only give him a warning for the traffic violation. The officer then asked the defendant if he had drugs in the car, and the defendant admitted he had marijuana in his vehicle.

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