Articles Posted in Arizona Supreme Court

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The two defendants in this case were juveniles when they fatally shot their victims. Defendants were each convicted of first degree murder. Defendants were sentenced to natural life imprisonment under Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-703, meaning they were not eligible for release. After Miller v. Alabama was decided, each defendant filed a petition for post-conviction relief under Ariz. R. Crim. P. 32.1(g). In each case, the trial court summarily denied relief, concluding that the sentencing court had complied with Miller and that any constitutional infirmity in Arizona’s sentencing scheme had been resolved by 2014 statutory amendments. The Supreme Court vacated the opinion of the court of appeals, reversed the trial court’s dismissal of the petitions for post-conviction relief, and remanded for further proceedings, holding that Defendants were entitled to evidentiary hearings on their Rule 32.1(g) petitions because they made colorable claims for relief based on Miller. View "State v. Valencia" on Justia Law

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In 1993, Defendant, who was seventeen years old at the time, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and other charges. Defendant was sentenced to life in prison. Defendant later filed a petition for post-conviction relief pursuant to Ariz. R. Crim. P. 32, claiming that recent scientific findings concerning juvenile psychology and neurology were newly discovered material facts that entitled him to post-conviction relief. The trial court dismissed the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant failed to present a colorable claim because the advancements in juvenile psychology and neurology offered by Defendant merely supplement then-existing knowledge of juvenile behavior that was considered at the time of Defendant’s sentencing. View "State v. Amaral" on Justia Law

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Ariz. Rev. Stat 8-238 requires juveniles charged with certain offenses and summoned to appear at an advisory hearing to submit to the investigating law enforcement agency a sample of buccal cells or other bodily substances for DNA testing and extraction. The penalty for failure to comply is revocation of release pending adjudication. In this case seven juveniles were separately charged with violations of offenses specified in section 8-238(A). Each was summoned to an advisory hearing, released, and ordered to submit a buccal sample to law enforcement within five days. In each case, the superior court rejected Fourth Amendment objections to the sampling order. The Juveniles jointly filed a special action in the court of appeals, which held that requiring the submission of DNA samples from juveniles for whom a probable cause determination has been made does not violate the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court vacated the opinion of the court of appeals, holding that the statutory scheme violated the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. View "Mario W. v. Superior Court (Kaipio)" on Justia Law