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State v. Briseno

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division, Department D

July 9, 2013

STATE OF ARIZONA, Appellee,
v.
JESUS MANUEL BRISENO, Appellant.

Not for Publication -Rule 111, Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County Cause No. CR2009-158515-001 The Honorable Michael D. Jones, Judge (Retired)

Thomas C. Horne, Arizona Attorney General Phoenix Joseph T. Maziarz, Chief Counsel, Criminal Appeals Section And Alice Jones, Assistant Attorney General Attorneys for Appellee

The Nolan Law Firm, P.L.L.C. Mesa Cari McConeghy Nolan Attorneys for Appellant

MEMORANDUM DECISION

LAWRENCE F. WINTHROP, Chief Judge.

¶1 Jesus Manuel Briseno appeals his convictions for two counts of manslaughter, five counts of aggravated assault, and one count of endangerment arising from an automobile collision in which two persons died and six others were injured. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

BACKGROUND [1]

¶2 The evidence at trial showed Briseno was driving a Cadillac Escalade north on Grand Avenue near 35th Avenue when he turned left against a red arrow, colliding with a car that was traveling through the intersection on a green light. Two of the occupants in the other car died, and four others were injured. The two passengers in Briseno's car also sustained injuries.

¶3 Testing revealed Briseno had a blood alcohol concentration of .138 approximately three hours after the collision. Although Briseno admitted to several police officers that he had been driving the Escalade, defense counsel argued at trial that the State had failed to prove Briseno was the driver.

¶4 The jury convicted Briseno of the charged offenses, and the trial court sentenced him to a total of 30.75 years in prison. Briseno filed a timely notice of appeal. We have jurisdiction pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes sections 12-120.21(A)(1) (West 2013), [2] 13-4031, and 13-4033(A).

ANALYSIS

I. Jury Panel Taint

¶5 Briseno argues the trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motions to strike the jury panel for taint during voir dire. He argues that two jurors tainted the jury pool by describing crimes committed against them or a relative for which the perpetrator was not held responsible, and then suggesting this case was not the same.

¶6 One prospective juror said her brother died sometime after an automobile collision in which the other driver was drunk, and in her opinion the other driver, who had wealthy relatives, "got away with murder because she wasn't held responsible." The prospective juror said that experience would not affect her ability to be fair in this case, however, because "I am going to assume this case is going to be different. He will be held responsible for what he did or did not do as far as the court system." Another prospective juror said she was a victim of domestic violence, but police officers who were friends and relatives of the perpetrator protected him from prosecution. She said she believed she could be ...


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