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February 15, 2008

Arizona Supeme Court extends jury trial rights to misdemeanors leading to sex offender registration

In a very interesting opinion that covers a lot of very interesting modern criminal justice issues, the Arizona Supreme Court yesterday in Fushek v. State, No. CV-07-0251-PR (Ariz. Feb. 15, 2008), unanimously held that the Arizona state constitution requires a jury trial for misdemeanor charges that could lead to sex offender registration.  Here is the opinion's key conclusion:

[W]e conclude that the potential of sex offender registration reflects a legislative determination that Fushek has been charged with serious crimes.  As the Supreme Court noted in Blanton, “[t]he judiciary should not substitute its judgment as to seriousness for that of a legislature, which is far better equipped to perform the task.” 489 U.S. at 541-42....  We defer to the legislature’s determination that misdemeanor crimes involving sexual motivation are serious offenses and hold that when a special allegation of sexual motivation exposes a defendant to the possibility of sex offender registration, Article 2, Section 24 of our Constitution entitles the defendant to a trial by jury.

Download fushek_opinion.pdf

February 15, 2008 at 08:17 AM | Permalink


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very interesting followup to the post I
made yesterday about the felony/misdemeanor
distinction no longer making any sense
in the "functional era of criminal
jurisprudence" ushered in by Apprendi.

"Our inquiry is one not of form but effect"

bruce cunningham

Posted by: bruce cunningham | Feb 15, 2008 10:11:55 AM

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