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Category Archives: 79G Manslaughter Victories

CONVICTION REVERSED PCR (Rule 32) (7 YEAR PRISON SENTENCE) and NEW PLEA OFFER GIVEN with LESS PRISON TIME/ FELONY MANSLAUGHTER (with GUN) and (3 COUNTS) FELONY ENDANGERMENT (DANGEROUS) – State v. Mr. M (DMC No. 11460) (Yuma County Superior Court No. S1400CR2009-00194): Mr. M had been reckless with a firearm while in the presence of a woman and her three children. The gun discharged and killed the woman. Mr. M was subsequently charged with Manslaughter (Dangerous) and 3 Counts of Endangerment (Dangerous). His first Attorney had the case for 2 years and conducted no interviews. In addition, that Attorney advised Mr. M not to take an offer to Negligent Homicide with a range or 4-8 years in prison. Mr. M subsequently terminated that Attorney and hired another Attorney. That Attorney had the case for 7 months and conducted no interviews. An offer was secured by that Attorney to probation with 1 year in jail, or prison with 5-12.5 years of incarceration. That Attorney told Mr. M that he could most likely get the probationary term with only a year in jail. He was ultimately sentenced to 7 years in prison.

We were hired by Mr. M’s family to file a Post Conviction Relief Petition pursuant to Rule 32 of the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure. We had evidence in our Petition that both previous Attorney’s were “ineffective” because they had not interviewed any witnesses. In addition, when Mr. M was sentenced, 8 other mitigating factors were not presented to the Judge. Just prior to an Evidentiary Hearing in front of the sentencing Judge, the Prosecutor offered a new plea agreement which allowed Mr. M to be sentenced to 5.5 years in prison, with credit for the time he had already served. Our involvement in the case saved him 1 and a half years of prison time.

FELONY VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER and FELONY HIT & RUN DISMISSED – State v. Mr. A (DMC No. 8667) (Maricopa County Superior Court No. CR2005-134626): An individual was crossing the roadway near McClintock and Apache Boulevard in Tempe, Arizona, when he was struck and killed by Mr. A’s car. When the Police arrived in the area, they acted on a “hunch” and searched all neighboring apartment complexes. They saw Mr. A’s vehicle parked in a parking space concealed with a car cover. The Officer lifted up the car cover in order to inspect for damage. When he saw damage, he ran the license plate and ascertained Mr. A’s apartment number. Mr. A was then brought out, questioned and arrested for Vehicular Manslaughter and Felony Hit & Run.

We filed motions to have the entire case dismissed due to an “improper search” issue. The Officer could have sought out a search warrant before lifting the car cover but he did not do so. The Trial Judge agreed with us and ruled that this was an illegal search and all charges were Dismissed. Although the State Appealed to the Arizona State of Appeals and that decision was reversed, they choose never to re-file charges against Mr. A due to various other problems with the case.

NOT CHARGED/REDUCED | MANSLAUGHTER NOT CHARGED/REDUCED to Misdemeanor DUI – State v. Mr. T. (DMC No. 7216) (East Mesa Justice Court No. TR2006-172224): Mr. T. was traveling westbound on University Drive in Mesa when an individual attempted to cross University diagonal to the flow of traffic. He was unfortunately struck and killed. Mr. T. was interviewed by police and he admitted to using marijuana in the prior 24 hrs. We were able to convince the State that no individual would have been able to stop in time to avoid the collision. In addition, we were able to show that the marijuana would not have affected his ability to drive. Although we convinced the State to not file Manslaughter charges, they did file charges for DUI with a metabolite of marijuana in System. The case was ultimately resolved as a Misdemeanor DUI Drugs with 1 day in jail – even though it started out with Mr. T. facing a potential 21 years in prison.

NOT CHARGED | VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER – State v. Mr. R. (DMC No. 11737) (Gilbert Police Department Investigated): Mr. R. was driving his car with his brother alongside him when he turned around a corner and began having a seizure.  The vehicle flipped, and Mr. R.’s brother died in the passenger seat.  Although no drugs or alcohol were involved, the case was routed to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to review for charges.  We were able to find several witnesses on the scene who stated that Mr. R. clearly looked to be having a seizure as he came around the corner.  In addition, we had Mr. R. subjected to an MRI of his brain which showed an “area of parenchymal signal abnormality”.  After almost 2 full years, the County Attorney declined to file any charges against Mr. R.

NOT CHARGED | MANSLAUGHTER – State v. Mr. T. (DMC No. 6044) (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office DR2005-095229): Mr. T. was driving along the roadway, when an elderly man rode his bicycle directly in front of Mr. T.’s his vehicle and he was struck and killed. Mr. T. was subsequently interviewed and provided a blood and urine sample. Although it came back with the presence of marijuana, we conducted interviews with other witnesses and a first officer on scene and it was determined that Mr. T. was not impaired. We convinced them not to file any charges against him for manslaughter. He did, however, receive a citation for misdemeanor DUI drugs. He was originally facing possible 7 to 21 years in prison, and ended up with a misdemeanor misdemeanor DUI drugs with 1 day of jail.

NOT CHARGED | VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER NOT CHARGED – State v. Mr. W. (DMC No. 6723) (Navajo County DPS DR2006-026637): Mr. W. owned a logging truck company, and was running loads of lumber in the Pinetop Lakeside area.   He was returning with a load of lumber at dusk, when he saw an accident scene to the side of the road.  Roughly 10 miles down the road, he was stopped by police who asked him questions of whether he could have struck somebody in the roadway without knowing it. Subsequently, a search warrant was issued and his truck was seized.

We were able to intercept the case and convinced the Detective that charges should not be filed against Mr. W.  Due to the autopsy records, the alleged victim, a Native American man with a .199 BAC, apparently was laying in the roadway.  Due to the height of Mr. W.’s truck, and the position of his lights, if he did strike and cause the death of the alleged victim, he was not at fault.  We eventually convinced the Detective to not file charges and release Mr. W.’s truck back to his possession.

NOT CHARGED/DISMISSED | VEHICLUAR MANSLAUGHTER /DUI DRUGS (Marijuana)  – State v. Mr. C. (DMC No. 10610) (Apache Junction City Court TR20120026): A motorcyclist had been involved in a minor collision at Broadway Road & Meridian Road in Apache Junction. The motorcyclist then wandered around the car as Mr. C.’s car came up and struck and killed him.  Although no impairment was observed, the police ordered a blood draw from Mr. C., which revealed the presence of marijuana.  We filed a Motion to Suppress the blood draw, which was granted and the DUI drugs charge was dismissed.  We also were able to convince the prosecutors not to file charges for manslaughter as Mr. C. was not at fault for striking the motorcyclist.  No charges for manslaughter were ever brought.

NOT CHARGED/REDUCED | VEHICULAR HOMICIDE HIT and RUN NOT CHARGED/REDUCED to MISDEMEANOR – State v. Mr. M. (DMC No. 7441) (Tempe Police Department DR06-072066/Tempe City Court 06-916379): Mr. M. was a passenger in a vehicle which ran a red light, and struck and killed a Tempe City Police Officer.  After the accident, both the driver and Mr. M. got out of the vehicle and fled.  Mr. M. came back to the scene brief time after and was questioned by police.  In this high profile case, the driver was charged with a Vehicular Homicide, and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office was deciding whether to charge Mr. M. with Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Accident.  We were able to convince them that they could not meet the required elements to prove a crime, and Mr. M. couldn’t return any quicker to assist in the investigation.  Ultimately, the County Attorney’s Office agreed to route the case to the Tempe City Attorney’s Office for a simple charge of Minor in Consumption of Alcohol.  Mr. M. was originally facing years in prison.

NOT CHARGED | VEHICULAR HOMICIDE/VEHICULAR AGGRAVATED ASSAULT NOT CHARGED – State v. Mr. S. (DMC No. 7422) (Peoria Police Department Investigated): Mr. S. was accused of exiting a private drive and striking a second vehicle that was travelling at a high rate of speed.  The passenger in the second vehicle was treated for injuries, flown to the hospital and later died.  Mr. S. was subsequently investigated for DUI due to unsteadiness on his feet and an odor of alcohol.  During the pendency of a civil lawsuit, filed by the decedent’s family, we were able to show that Mr. S. had been blocked by a fence from having a clean view of the street he was pulling onto.  In addition, we were able to show that the victim’s vehicle did not have its headlights on.  This was done by examining the filaments of the broken headlights.  Because they were not burned out, this proved that they were not actually “on” at the time of the accident.  Ultimately no criminal charges were brought against Mr. S.   He was originally facing potentially Manslaughter/Negligent Homicide charges along with Aggravated Assault Dangerous charges.  He could have spent decades in prison.

 

NOT CHARGED/REDUCED | VEHICULAR 2ND DEGREE MURDER NOT CHARGED/MANSLAUGHTER and AGGRAVATED ASSAULT (dangerous) REDUCED to NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE (non dangerous) with 1 YEAR in PRISON (7 months of actual time) – State v. Mr. F. (DMC No. 11880) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR2011-007282): Mr. F. was travelling on the southbound 101 in Scottsdale when another vehicle engaged an SUV in “road rage” in front of him. The original vehicle slammed on its brakes, causing Mr. F. to swerve to the right, striking the SUV. The SUV flipped and the driver subsequently died at the scene. The original vehicle took off and was designated a “phantom vehicle” by Mr. F. and several witnesses. During the course of the investigation, Mr. F. was discovered to have marijuana and a pipe on his possession. He admitted to smoking marijuana hours earlier. Blood was drawn which was revealed the presence both “active” and “inactive” marijuana metabolites. We submitted various documentation to the County Attorney’s Office and Attorney General’s Office before the case went to Grand Jury. They were originally seeking 2nd Degree Murder charges, but the Grand Jury only returned charges based on Manslaughter. During the course of vigorously defending the case, we had the County Attorney’s Office removed for “conflict”, and the Attorney General’s Office took over the case. We eventually negotiated a reduced plea to Negligent Homicide (Non Dangerous), with a stipulated 1 year in DOC. The actual amount time that Mr. F. will spend in prison is only 7 months. He was originally facing a potential 10 to 22 years on the 2nd Degree Murder and 7 to 21 years on the Manslaughter.

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