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Category Archives: 79F Second Degree Murder Victories

(2 COUNTS) FELONY VEHICULAR SECOND DEGREE MURDER and (1 COUNT) FELONY HIT & RUN REDUCED to 19 YEARS in PRISON – State v. Mr. N (DMC No. 6998) (Maricopa County Superior Court No. CR2005-011605): In this high profile vehicular homicide case, Mr. N had blown through a red light and rear ended another vehicle containing 2 passengers. One of the passengers was pregnant at the time. Their car then struck a bus stop and bursts into flames. Both passengers inside burned to death. Mr. N then got out of his car and fled the scene. When he was apprehended, he was found to have cocaine in his system along with alcohol. He also had prior felony convictions. He was ultimately charged with 2 Counts of Second Degree Murder and 1 Count of Felony Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Accident.

The family hired us to attempt to challenge the evidence and secure the lowest possible prison offer for Mr. N. His initial plea offer was to stipulate to 25 years in custody. We then negotiated an offer to a range of 16-32 years in prison, with the  exact prison sentence to be left up to the Judge. After putting together an extensive Mitigation Package that include interviewing all if Mr. N’s family members, along with a history of his upbringing and drug dependency, we convinced the Judge to give a sentence of 19 years. The Prosecutor wanted 25-32 years. Our involvement helped shave 6 years of prison off of the original plea offer.

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 | 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.

CONVICTION REVERSED | SECOND DEGREE MURDER – (DMC No. 9275) (Maricopa County Superior Court No. CR2006-04688): Ms. G. had previously been convicted of Second Degree Murder after she shot her nephew twice in the head. At the time of the incident she was almost 60 years old and her nephew was in his early 20’s. He was very abusive to her, and was attacking her when she utilized her gun for self-defense. Unfortunately, Ms. G. used a Court-appointed attorney and was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Through searching the trial record we were able to show that her attorney was ineffective and did not present the proper jury instructions. After we filed our Post-Conviction Relief Petition, the judge agreed and reversed her conviction.

To speak with a Appeals Lawyer in Arizona, please call our offices at (602) 307-0808.

 

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.

NOT CHARGED/REDUCED | FELONY MANSLAUGHTER NOT CHARGED/MISDEMEANOR MANSLAUGHTER REDUCED to PROBATION with 100 HOURS of COMMUNITY SERVICE – State v. Ms. R. (DMC No. 6107) (West Mesa Justice Court CT2006-002295/Salt River Police Department DR2005-06294): Ms. R. had been driving near McKellips & Alma School Road in Mesa, when she made a u-turn. Another vehicle had been coming through the intersection and struck her. The driver of that vehicle died. As police contacted her, she had indicated she had drank 3 ounces of wine several hours prior, and had taken some prescription medication two days earlier. They subsequently had her sign a contract that voluntarily give blood, and we then became involved. We were able to prove with an “accident reconstruction” and blood analysis that she was not impaired, and that the accident was not her fault. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office declined to file the felony manslaughter charge. She was, however, charged with “misdemeanor manslaughter”. We were able to have that reduced to 100 hours of community service. She was originally facing 7 to 21 years in prison, and ended up with no felony on her record and not having to do jail time.

REDUCED | 2 COUNTS of SECOND DEGREE MURDER and 1 COUNT of AGGRAVATED ASSAULT DANGEROUS REDUCED to AGGRAVATED ASSAULT NON DANGEROUS with 4.5 YEARS of PRISON – State v. Mr. M. (DMC No. 7863) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR2006-009509): Mr. M. and two other friends were challenging another car to a drag race on the I-17. Mr. M. was in the passenger seat, and when both cars got side to side, Mr. M. hung out of the window with a baseball bat and struck the other car. After he got back into the car as both vehicles were travelling 100 mph, they collided. The other vehicle went off the roadway and two of the three passengers were killed. Mr. M. was subsequently charged with 2 counts of second degree murder and 1 count of aggravated assault dangerous. We were able to convince the Prosecutor, by using an accident reconstruction expert, that Mr. M. was not the causal factor in the crash. In exchange for dismissing both counts of second degree murder and reducing the aggravated assault dangerous to a non dangerous, we secured an open range offer in which Mr. M. was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison. He was originally facing a potential of 59 years in prison.

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