64 P.3d 188 (Ariz. 2003), CR-01-0296, State v. Viramontes

Docket Nº:CR-01-0296-PR, CR-01-0414-PR.
Citation:64 P.3d 188, 204 Ariz. 360
Opinion Judge:[15] The opinion of the court was delivered by: Zlaket, Justice (Retired)
Party Name:STATE of Arizona, Appellee, v. Samuel Phillip VIRAMONTES, Appellant. State of Arizona, Appellee, v. Jason Jared Beck, Appellant.
Attorney:[7] VIRAMONTES [8] Isabel G. Garcia, Pima County Legal Defender By Robb P. Holmes; Tucson. Attorneys for Appellant [9] Janet Napolitano, Arizona Attorney General, By Randall M. Howe; Phoenix. [10] Cynthia Ryan; Tucson. Attorneys for Appellee [11] Beck [12] Isabel G. Garcia, Pima County Legal Defe...
Case Date:January 08, 2003
Court:Supreme Court of Arizona
 
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Page 188

64 P.3d 188 (Ariz. 2003)

204 Ariz. 360

STATE of Arizona, Appellee,

v.

Samuel Phillip VIRAMONTES, Appellant.

State of Arizona, Appellee,

v.

Jason Jared Beck, Appellant.

Nos. CR-01-0296-PR, CR-01-0414-PR.

Supreme Court of Arizona

Jan. 8, 2003.

Isabel G. Garcia, Pima County Legal Defender by Robb P. Holmes, Tucson, Attorneys for Appellant.

Janet Napolitano, Arizona Attorney General by Randall M. Howe, Phoenix, Cynthia Ryan, Tucson, Attorneys for Appellee.

Isabel G. Garcia, Pima County Legal Defender by Joy Athena, Tucson, Attorneys for Appellant.

Janet Napolitano, Arizona Attorney General by Randall M. Howe, Phoenix, Diane M. Acosta, Tucson, Attorneys for Appellee.

OPINION

ZLAKET, Justice (Retired).

¶ 1 Samuel Viramontes and Jason Beck were separately convicted of first degree murder and each received a natural life sentence. We consolidated their cases and granted review without oral argument to decide whether a trial court, in a first degree murder case where the state has not sought the death penalty, may consider in sentencing

Page 189

[204 Ariz. 361] those aggravating factors provided for by Arizona Revised Statutes section 13-702. We have jurisdiction pursuant to Arizona Constitution, Article VI, Section 5(3) andArizona Rule of Criminal Procedure 31.19.

¶ 2 Viramontes was convicted of killing Kevin Stratton. The state did not seek the death penalty and the trial court sentenced him to natural life in prison, having found four aggravating factors: 1) the presence of an accomplice, 2) the defendant's failure to avail himself of past rehabilitative efforts, 3) his juvenile history, and 4) a prior conviction. The court of appeals affirmed the sentence, holding that it was permissible for the trial court to utilize the aggravating factors set forth in section 13-702. State v. Viramontes, 200 Ariz. 452, 455, 27 P.3d 809, 812 (App.2001).

¶ 3 Beck was convicted of kidnapping and killing David Nickell. The state did not seek the death penalty. The trial court relied on the following factors in handing down a natural life sentence: 1) Beck's 34 point I.Q. advantage over his co-defendant, 2) his lack of remorse, 3) the cruelty involved in the killing, 4) the significant emotional harm to the victim, 5) the use of a deadly weapon, 6) Beck's temperament and personality, and 7) the presence of an accomplice. In a memorandum decision, the court of appeals affirmed the sentence based on its previous opinion in Viramontes.

ANALYSIS

¶ 4 We review issues of statutory construction de novo. Zamora v. Reinstein, 185 Ariz. 272, 275, 915 P.2d 1227, 1230 (1996).

¶ 5 Arizona Revised...

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