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State v. Yusuf

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division, Department B

July 25, 2013

STATE OF ARIZONA, Appellee,
v.
ABDIRAHMAN H. YUSUF, Appellant.

Not for Publication – Rule 111, Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court.

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County Cause No. CR2011-117184-001 The Honorable Roger E. Brodman, Judge.

Thomas C. Horne, Attorney General Phoenix by Joseph T. Maziarz, Acting Chief Counsel, Criminal Appeals/Capital Litigation Section Attorneys for Appellee.

James J. Haas, Maricopa County Public Defender Phoenix by Terry Adams, Deputy Public Defender Attorneys for Appellant.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

MAURICE PORTLEY, Presiding Judge.

¶1 This is an appeal under Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967) and State v. Leon, 104 Ariz. 297, 451 P.2d 878 (1969). Counsel for Defendant Abdirahman H. Yusuf, has advised us that, after searching the entire record, he has been unable to discover any arguable questions of law, and has filed a brief requesting us to conduct an Anders review of the record. Defendant did not take the opportunity to file a supplemental brief.

FACTS[1]

¶2 Yusuf drove his car into the parking lot of the Skyline Inn Hotel on April 6, 2011. When he was asked to leave because he did not reside there, Yusuf got out of the car and pointed a gun at the victim, a hotel employee, who was attempting to get the license plate number of the car. The victim fell down while backing up and threw a drill that was in his hand at the car. The front desk staff person, who was watching the confrontation, called 9-1-1 after the car left the parking lot.

¶3 After the police responded to the hotel and received the relevant information, the car Yusuf was driving was spotted and he was later arrested. The gun was sitting on the front seat of the car and turned out to be a pellet gun.

¶4 Yusuf was charged with aggravated assault, a class 3 dangerous felony. He challenged his competency to stand trial, was found competent and the case proceeded to trial. During trial, Yusuf claimed he acted in self defense. The jury heard that Yusuf told the arresting officer that he had been assaulted at the hotel after an argument and he never touched the gun. Yusuf, however, was convicted as charged. He was subsequently sentenced to a mitigated prison term of six and one-half years and given credit for 471 days of presentence incarceration.

¶5 We have jurisdiction over this appeal pursuant to Article 6, Section 9, of the Arizona Constitution, and Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.") sections 12-120.21(A)(1), 13-4031, and -4033(A)(1) (West 2013).

DISCUSSION

¶6 In determining that Yusuf was guilty of aggravated assault and after being properly instructed, the jury had to determine whether the pellet gun was a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. See State v. Caldera, 141 Ariz. 634, 637, 688 P.2d 642, 645 (1984). At the close of the case, Yusuf unsuccessfully argued he was entitled to a judgment of acquittal pursuant to Arizona Rule of Criminal Procedure ("Rule") 20. The next day, the court asked the parties to "submit simultaneous briefing" on the Rule 20 issue. After considering the briefing, the court again denied the Rule 20 motion in a thorough order.

¶7 We review the ruling on a motion for judgment of acquittal de novo and review the record to determine whether there is substantial evidence to warrant a conviction. State v. West, 226 Ariz. 559, 562, ¶¶ 14-15, 250 P.3d 1188, 1191 (2011). Substantial evidence is direct and circumstantial evidence that reasonable people could accept as adequate and ...


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