State ex rel. Adel v. Honorable John HannahAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court held that Respondent, a superior court judge, erred in concluding that Ariz. R. Crim. P. 24.2 did not bar him from vacating the Enmund/Tison verdict in this case.
Defendant was found guilty of child abuse and first degree murder. Before a defendant convicted of felony murder can be sentenced to death, the jury must find that the defendant either (1) killed, attempted to kill, or intended that a killing take place or that lethal force be used, Edmund v. Florida, 458 U.S. 782 (1982); or (2) was a major participant in the underlying felony and acted with reckless indifference to human life, Tison v. Arizona, 481 U.S. 137 (1987). The jurors found that Defendant's conduct satisfied Enmund/Tison, but the jury could not unanimously reach a verdict as to Defendant's sentence. Relying on State v. Miles, 243 Ariz. 511 (2018) and Rule 24.2, Defendant moved to vacate the Enmund/Tison verdict while her case was pending retrial of the penalty phase. Respondent vacated the jury's aggravation phase verdict, concluding that the Enmund/Tison verdict was faulty as a result of Miles. The Supreme Court vacated the order, holding that a judgment and a sentence must be entered before a Rule 24.2 motion may be filed and considered by a trial court.