State v. Tims, 6272

CourtSupreme Court of Arizona
Citation143 Ariz. 196,693 P.2d 333
Docket NumberNo. 6272,6272
PartiesSTATE of Arizona, Appellee, v. Gary Wayne TIMS, Appellant.
Decision Date03 January 1985

Page 333

693 P.2d 333
143 Ariz. 196
STATE of Arizona, Appellee,
Gary Wayne TIMS, Appellant.
No. 6272.
Supreme Court of Arizona,
In Banc.
Jan. 3, 1985.

[143 Ariz. 197]

Page 334

Robert K. Corbin, William J. Schafer, III, Chief Counsel, Crim. Div., R. Wayne Ford, Asst. Atty. Gen., Phoenix, for appellee.

C. Robert Pursley, Safford, for appellant.

GORDON, Vice Chief Justice.

On February 10, 1984 an information was filed charging defendant with one count of dangerous or deadly assault by a prisoner, A.R.S. § 13-1206, and one count of aggravated assault, A.R.S. § 13-1204, with an allegation of five prior felonies. Defendant, an inmate at the Fort Grant Training Center, allegedly beat a sleeping prisoner with a pipe. Prior to trial the state moved for and was granted a dismissal of the aggravated assault charge. After a jury trial, defendant was found guilty of dangerous or deadly assault by a prisoner. The court sentenced defendant to life imprisonment to be served consecutive to the sentence defendant was serving at the time of the assault. 1

Defendant raises three issues on appeal:

(1) Whether the trial court abused its discretion in limiting defense counsel's voir dire of the jury;

(2) Whether the trial court erred in not giving an instruction on aggravated assault, and

(3) Whether the prosecutor committed prosecutorial misconduct in his closing argument.

Because we find no merit in any of these three issues, we affirm the judgment of conviction.

Defendant first contends that the trial court erred in refusing to allow defense counsel to voir dire the jury regarding the life imprisonment sentence associated with the crime charged, namely A.R.S. § 13-1206 deadly or dangerous assault by a prisoner. Prior to the voir dire, defense counsel requested that the court allow him to advise the jury of the mandatory life imprisonment sentence associated with the charge.

"[Defense Counsel]: And also urge the Court to allow the defense to voir dire the Jury as to the meaning of an unclassified dangerous felony. To advise the Jury or potential jurors that the offense with which Mr. Tims is charged carries with it, upon conviction, a mandatory life sentence. And allow the Jury to be aware of the sentence that is mandated and required by law in the event of a conviction.

"I do this on the grounds that the Jury in this particular case, if they convict Mr. Tims of that charge, acts also in essence as judge. Because the sentence is a mandated sentence. And the Judge will have no option, but to sentence Mr. Tims to life imprisonment.

"The statute also requires that that sentence be consecutive with whatever sentence he is now serving and also mandates that he will not be eligible for pardon or release unless he has served at least 25 years. And for those reasons I feel that the Jury has the right to know that this is first of all an unclassified dangerous felony, and secondly, that that means that upon conviction he will automatically be sentenced to life imprisonment.

"THE COURT: You're telling the Court, Mr. Pursley, you wish to voir dire the Jury explaining what the penalty--what the range of penalty would be and what the mandated minimums would be in the event the Jury adjudged him guilty?

"[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: I don't ask to go into that detail. I ask the court to allow me to advise the potential Jurors that a conviction on this charge carries a mandatory life imprisonment."

[143 Ariz. 198]

Page 335

We first note that the scope of voir dire is left to the sound discretion of the trial court. State v. McDaniel, 136 Ariz. 188, 665 P.2d 70 (1983); State v. Baumann, 125 Ariz. 404, 610 P.2d 38 (1980). The trial court's limitation of the voir dire examination will not be adjudged error on appeal absent clear abuse of that discretion. State v. McMurtrey, 136 Ariz. 93, 664 P.2d 637, cert. denied, 464 U.S. 858, 104 S.Ct. 180, 78 L.Ed.2d 161 (1983); State v. Smith, 114 Ariz. 415, 561 P.2d 739 (1977).

In Arizona, the trial judge performs the sentencing function, not the jury. The jury, as the trier of fact, considers the evidence presented during the trial, deliberates thereon and determines the factual issues raised by the case. In reaching its verdict the jury should not be concerned with the possible sentences that the trial judge could impose, and such matters should not affect its deliberations and determination of guilt or innocence. See State v. Burnetts, 80 Ariz. 208, 295 P.2d 377 (1956); United States v. Davidson, 367 F.2d 60 (6th Cir.1966). This court, in State v. Koch, 138 Ariz. 99, 673 P.2d 297 (1983), has already determined that jury instructions should not state the potential punishment that may result from the jury's verdict:

"In a criminal trial in Arizona, the exclusive function of the jury is to determine whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. The trial court determines matters of punishment. 'A defendant is entitled to a fair trial and to a verdict of a jury upon the evidence without consideration of the punishment inflicted.' State...

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28 cases
  • State v. Murray, 2 CA-CR 2018-0312
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Arizona
    • December 5, 2019
    ...judges are not required sua sponte to correct misstatements of law, however, it is within their discretion to do so. See State v. Tims , 143 Ariz. 196, 199, 693 P.2d 333 (1985) (trial court enjoys broad discretion in controlling closing argument). We encourage trial judges to speak up when ......
  • State v. McDuffie, 2 CA-CR 2014-0346
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Arizona
    • November 30, 2015
    ...weapon by a prisoner. Accordingly, he maintains that his aggravated-assault conviction must be vacated. We agree.¶23 In State v. Tims, 143 Ariz. 196, 198-99, 693 P.2d 333, 335-36 (1985), our supreme court described aggravated assault involving a dangerous instrument as a lesser-included off......
  • State v. Mauro, CR-84-0195-AP
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • December 1, 1988
    ...error from limitation of voir dire absent an abuse of discretion. State v. Mauro, 149 Ariz. at 28, 716 P.2d at 397, citing State v. Tims, 143 Ariz. 196, 198, 693 P.2d 333, 335 (1985). We also pointed out that some of the proposed questions were similar to a question we upheld in State v. Ch......
  • State v. Lynch, CR–12–0359–AP.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • September 10, 2015
    ...broad discretion in controlling closing argument, and their rulings will only be overturned for an abuse of discretion. State v. Tims, 143 Ariz. 196, 199, 693 P.2d 333, 336 (1985).a. A.R.S. § 13–751(G)(1) ¶ 34 Substantial impairment of a person's capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness 238 ......
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