State v. Chabolla-Hinojosa

Citation192 Ariz. 360,965 P.2d 94
Decision Date03 September 1998
Parties, 277 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 5 STATE of Arizona, Appellee, v. Rubenppellant. 98-0125. Division 1
CourtCourt of Appeals of Arizona

Page 94

965 P.2d 94
192 Ariz. 360, 277 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 5
STATE of Arizona, Appellee,
No. 1 CA-CR 98-0125.
Court of Appeals of Arizona,
Division 1.
Sept. 3, 1998.

Page 95

Grant Woods, Arizona Attorney General by Paul J. McMurdie, Chief Counsel, Criminal Appeals Section, Jacquelyn B. Eskay, Assistant Attorney General Attorneys, Phoenix, for Appellee.

George A. Rouff, Yuma, for Appellant.


NOYES, Judge.

¶1 Ruben Chabolla-Hinojosa ("Appellant") and another man delivered a car that was loaded with marijuana. For this conduct, Appellant was convicted of transporting marijuana for sale, importing marijuana, and possessing marijuana for sale. In answer to an issue that arose during fundamental error review, we conclude that, when the possession for sale charge is incidental to the transportation for sale charge, the former is a lesser-included offense and the defendant cannot be convicted of both offenses. Accordingly, we affirm, as modified by vacating the conviction and sentence on the possession for sale charge.


¶2 On July 31, 1997, a Yuma County Grand Jury indicted Appellant on a conspiracy count and the following three substantive counts: (1) importation of marijuana, having a weight of two pounds or more, a class 2 felony in violation of Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated ("A.R.S.") section 13-3405(A)(4) (Supp.1997); (2) transportation of marijuana for sale, having a weight of two pounds or more, a class 2 felony in violation of A.R.S. section 13-3405(A)(4); and (3) possession of marijuana for sale, having a weight of more than four pounds, a class 2 felony in violation of A.R.S. section 13-3405(A)(2). The State later dismissed the conspiracy count, the court later severed Appellant's trial from those of the other defendants, and Appellant had a jury trial in December 1997.

¶3 The facts are not much in dispute. A nervous young man driving a white Thunderbird entered the United States at the San Luis Port of Entry. After a narcotics-detecting dog alerted on a compartment behind the back seat, inspectors tried to open it and could not. They then decided to do a "controlled delivery," meaning that the young man was allowed to drive off in the vehicle,

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but the vehicle was under law enforcement surveillance.

¶4 The young man drove the Thunderbird to a nearby fast food business, parked the vehicle, and walked back to Mexico. A while later, "Ivan" walked up and got into the vehicle, drove it to another fast food business, parked it there, and walked away. Ivan later returned in another vehicle, accompanied by Appellant. Ivan helped Appellant get into his wheelchair, and from his wheelchair into the Thunderbird, and they then drove off in the Thunderbird, with Ivan driving. After Ivan and Appellant delivered the Thunderbird to a mobile home in San Luis, officers saw two other men carry a large trash bag from the Thunderbird to the mobile home. Officers then obtained a search warrant and found about 400 pounds of marijuana inside the mobile home.

¶5 The officer who took Appellant to the police station testified that he read Miranda rights to Appellant in Spanish, that Appellant indicated he understood his rights and agreed to talk, and that he then gave several stories. In the final version, Appellant said that "Jesse" asked him to deliver the car and that Appellant knew there was marijuana in it but did not know how much. He said that Ivan agreed to go with him, and that Ivan knew what was in the car, too. Although Appellant said that Jesse never said how much he was going to pay, Appellant told the officer that he was going to give Ivan some of the money he would get from Jesse.

¶6 Appellant testified that, the day before his arrest, he and Ivan were at Jesse's place in Mexico when another man invited them to a barbecue the next day in San Luis. Jesse then said that, if Appellant was going to the barbecue, he could deliver a car and Jesse would pay him some money. The next day, Jesse gave Appellant and Ivan a key to the car and instructions on where to find it and where to deliver it. Appellant said that he did not know what was in the car until others unloaded the marijuana. Appellant said that he told the officer that he suspected the car might contain marijuana, but he did not know this until he saw the marijuana being unloaded.

¶7 The jury found Appellant guilty as charged. The trial court sentenced him to the presumptive terms of five years on each count, to be served concurrently, with credit for 186 days of pre-sentence incarceration. The court also imposed an attorney assessment of $375, a fine of $240,000, and a payment fee of $20.


¶8 Appellant's opening brief advised that counsel was unable to find any meritorious issue and requested that this court search the record for fundamental error. After doing so, we issued an order pursuant to Penson v. Ohio, 488 U.S. 75, 109 S.Ct. 346, 102 L.Ed.2d 300 (1988), and asked for supplemental briefs on the lesser-included offense issue. The supplemental briefs each asserted that possession for sale is not a lesser-included offense of transportation for sale. We disagree, and we conclude that a conviction of possessing for sale the same marijuana one is convicted of transporting for sale violates the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and article 2, section 10 of the Arizona Constitution.

¶9 Freedom from double jeopardy is "fundamental to the American scheme of justice" and "must be enforced whenever a violation is determined to exist." State v. Millanes, 180 Ariz. 418, 421, 885 P.2d 106, 109 (App.1994) (citing Benton v. Maryland, 395 U.S. 784, 796, 89 S.Ct. 2056, 23 L.Ed.2d 707 (1969)). Any waiver of the right not to be twice placed in jeopardy must be express. See id. at 420, 885 P.2d at 108 (citing Quinton v. Superior Ct., 168 Ariz. 545, 549, 815 P.2d 914, 918 (App.1991)). Appellant did not expressly waive this right, and we therefore decide the issue.

¶10 Appellant was convicted of violating A.R.S. section 13-3405(A)(2) and (4), which provide, "A person shall not knowingly: ... (2) Possess marijuana for sale.... (4) Transport for sale ... marijuana." Whether the latter offense includes the former must be resolved because, when a person is convicted of an offense, the prohibition against double jeopardy protects against further

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prosecution for that or any lesser-included offense. See Fitzgerald v. Superior Ct., 173 Ariz. 539, 544, 845 P.2d 465, 470 (App.1992) (citing Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299, 304, 52 S.Ct. 180, 76 L.Ed. 306 (1932)).

¶11 A lesser-included offense is one "composed solely of some but not all of the elements of the greater crime so that it is impossible to have committed the crime charged without having committed the lesser one." State v. Woods, 168 Ariz. 543, 544, 815 P.2d 912, 913 (App.1991) (citation omitted). The charges here are possession of marijuana for sale having a weight of more than four pounds, and transportation of marijuana for sale having a weight of two pounds or more. Although the alleged weight is an essential element on which defendant has the right to be tried by a jury, State v. Virgo, 190 Ariz. 349, 352-53, 947 P.2d 923, 926 (App.1997), the alleged weight...

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