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Only the second requirement of Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-3822(A) that registered sex offenders must “register as a transient not less than every ninety days” if the person “does not have an address or a permanent place of residence” applies to transient individuals. Defendant was convicted of failing to satisfy the first requirement of the statute, which requires that registered sex offenders register a new residence or address within seventy-two hours of becoming homeless. Defendant became homeless after leaving a halfway house. Defendant appealed, arguing that a homeless person, by definition, cannot inform the sheriff of a new residence or address because he has none, and therefore, only the transient registration requirement applies. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that transient sex offenders are not required to notify the sheriff of a new residence within seventy-two hours of becoming homeless. View "State v. Burbey" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Enhanced sentences may not be imposed under the dangerous crimes against children (DCAC) statute when a defendant commits a crime against a fictitious child. Defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of solicitation to commit molestation of a child for speaking to a woman about allowing him to engage in sexual acts with her two young children, who were actually fictitious. Defendant’s crimes were classified as DCAC, and he was sentenced to lifetime probation on each count in accordance with the DCAC sentencing statute. Defendant later moved, without success, to dismiss the DCAC designation and then brought a special action in the court of appeals. The court of appeals upheld the trial court, concluding that DCAC sentencing applies to convictions for solicitation to commit molestation of a child when the victim is fictitious. The Supreme Court vacated the opinion of the court of appeals and reversed the trial court’s order denying Defendant’s request to dismiss the DCAC designation, holding that Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-705(P)(1) requires an actual child victim for DCAC enhanced sentences to apply to the enumerated offenses. View "Wright v. Honorable Pamela Gates" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Failure to register with the Arizona putative fathers registry is a statutory ground for severing a father’s parental rights, and putative fathers must comply with Ariz. Rev. Stat. 8-106.01 to avoid severance pursuant to Ariz. Rev. Stat. 8-533(B)(6). Frank R.’s parental rights were terminated because he did not register with the putative fathers registry. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the juvenile court had correctly applied section 8-533(B)(6). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) compliance with section 8-106.01 may not be excused to allow the father to avoid severance under section 8-533(B)(6); and (2) because Frank did not register, despite having the opportunity and time do so, the juvenile court did not err when it severed his parental rights. View "Frank R. v. Mother Goose Adoptions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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Neither Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-4041(B) nor Ariz. R. Crim. P. 32.5 requires a trial court to determine whether an Ariz. R. Crim. P. 32 petitioner is competent before proceeding and ruling on a state post-conviction relief (PCR) proceeding. After a new penalty phase trial, Petitioner was sentenced to death for first degree murder. Petitioner later brought a Rule 32 proceeding. Petitioner then moved the superior court to conduct a hearing to determine competency and to stay all PCR proceedings until the court found him competent, arguing that section 13-4041(B) and Rule 32.5 establish a defendant’s right to competency during PCR proceedings. The superior court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a convicted capital defendant is not entitled under Arizona’s statutes or rules to a competency determination in PCR proceedings. View "Fitzgerald v. Honorable Sam Myers" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Applying Ariz. R. Juv. Ct. P. 64(C) in pretrial proceedings does not conflict with Ariz. Rev. Stat. 8-863(C) in violation of the separation of powers required by Ariz. Const. art. III. After the juvenile court terminated Mother’s parental rights Mother appealed, arguing that Rule 64(C), which authorizes the court to proceed to a final termination hearing when a parent fails to appear without good cause at a pretrial conference, conflicts with section 8-863(C), which addresses the consequences for a parent’s failure to appear at a hearing and thus violates separation of powers principles. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that rule 64(C) does not enlarge or diminish any substantive rights granted by section 8-863(C), and therefore, there is no separation of powers violation. View "Marianne N. v. Department of Child Safety" on Justia Law

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Under Ariz. R. Civ. P. 15(c), an amended complaint naming a new defendant relates back to the original complaint if the newly added defendant knew or should have known the plaintiff mistakenly failed to name him or her as a party in the original complaint. Dianne Flynn, who was injured in a car accident with Sarah Campbell, sued Campbell’s insurance carrier, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, requesting compensatory damages and punitive damages. State Farm moved to dismiss the complaint on the basis that, in Arizona, there is no right of direct action against an insurance carrier for damages claimed as a result of an accident with one of its insureds. Flynn then filed an amended complaint removing State Farm and naming Campbell. Campbell moved to dismiss the amended complaint, arguing that it did not “relate back” under Rule 15(c) and was therefore time-barred. The superior court dismissed the amended complaint. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Flynn’s mistake was cognizable under Rule 15(c) as a mistake concerning the identity of the proper party. View "Flynn v. Campbell" on Justia Law

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The statutory presumption set forth in Ariz. Rev. Stat. 25-814(A)(1) that a man is presumed to be a legal parent if his wife gives birth to a child during the marriage applies to couples in same-sex marriages. After Kimberly McLaughlin and Suzan McLaughlin were married in California, Kimberly gave birth to a baby boy, E. When E. was almost two years old, Kimberly moved out of the parties’ home, taking E. with her. Thereafter, Suzan filed petitions for dissolution and for legal decision-making and parenting time in loco parentis. Suzan also challenged the constitutionality of Arizona’s refusal to recognize lawful same-sex marriages performed in other states. Based on Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. __ (2015), the trial court concluded that Kimberly could not rebut Suzan’s presumptive parentage under section 25-814(C). The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Suzan was a presumed parent under section 25-814(A)(1) and that Kimberly was equitably estopped from rebutting Suzan’s presumptive parentage of their son. View "McLaughlin v. Honorable Lori B. Jones" on Justia Law

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In this criminal case, the prosecutor’s instruction to the grand jury regarding the defense of justification was not erroneous and did not deprive Petitioner of a substantial procedural right. A grand jury indicted Petitioner on two counts of child abuse. Before the Supreme Court, Petitioner argued that he was denied a substantial procedural right because the prosecutor misstated the law regarding justification. Specifically, Petitioner argued that the prosecutor incorrectly advised the grand jurors that they were not allowed to consider whether his use of physical force on his son was justified under Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-403(1). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the prosecutor correctly instructed the grand jury on the defense of justification. View "Cespedes v. Honorable Kenneth Lee" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The state may constitutionally prohibit a city’s practice, prescribed by local ordinance, of destroying firearms that the city obtains through forfeiture or as unclaimed property. In 2005, the City of Tucson passed an ordinance that enacted Tucson Code 2-142, which provides that the police “shall dispose” of unclaimed and forfeited firearms “by destroying” them. In 2013, the legislature amended two statutes governing the destruction of firearms - Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-3108(F) and 12-945(B). Concluding that the ordinance conflicts with section 13-3108(F), the Attorney General filed this special action. The Supreme Court held (1) sections 12-945(B) and 13-3108(F) control over the conflicting municipal ordinance regarding destruction of firearms; (2) the legislature may require the Attorney General to investigate and file a special action in the Supreme Court regarding alleged violations of the state law; (3) the Supreme Court has mandatory jurisdiction to resolve whether the allegedly conflicting ordinance violates state law; and (4) the state laws displace Tucson Code 2-142. View "State ex rel. Brnovich v. City of Tucson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Constitutional Law

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In this criminal case arising from an incident of domestic violence, the trial court did not err in admitting the testimony of an expert witness that described general behavioral tendencies of adult victims of domestic abuse. Defendant was found guilty of two counts of aggravated assault (domestic abuse) and five counts of aggravated domestic violence, among other offenses. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the expert witness’s testimony did not constitute impermissible offender profiling. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentences, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the expert witness’s testimony but that trial court should exercise great caution in screening, admitting, and limiting evidence describing the characteristics of offenders. View "State v. Haskie" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law