Arizona v. WestAnnotate this Case
Appellees Randall and Penny West were charged with child abuse after an infant in their foster care died from severe head trauma. During their joint trial, each moved for an acquittal at the close of the State’s case and after the close of evidence. The trial court denied those motions. The jury found both guilty on child abuse charges. After the trial, Appellees renewed their motions for acquittal which this time was granted by the trial court. The court held that there was no evidence to prove who injured the child. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision granting Appellees’ motions. The appellate court used the Supreme Court’s holding in the “Hyder” case. Upon review of this case, the Supreme Court overturned its holding in “State ex rel. Hyder v. Superior Court” (“Hyder”), which placed conditions on trial courts’ granting of post-verdict motions for acquittal. The Court held that the “Hyder” case was now inconsistent with state law. In this case, the trial judge thoroughly explained his reasons for granting defendants’ post-verdict motions. Because the appellate court reviewed the trial court’s ruling under “Hyder” conditions, it did not determine whether the trial court’s record reflected substantial evidence to warrant the convictions. The Supreme Court vacated the appellate court’s decision, remanded the case for the lower court to address the sufficiency of the evidence and the merits of the trial court’s decision.