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State v. Castro

Court of Appeals of Arizona, Second Division

November 8, 2013

The State of Arizona, Appellee,
Corina Favela Castro, Appellant

Not for Publication See Ariz. R. Sup. Ct. 111(c); Ariz. R. Crim. P. 31.24

Appeal from the Superior Court in Pima County No. CR20120056001 The Honorable Ted B. Borek, Judge

Thomas C. Horne, Arizona Attorney General by Joseph T. Maziarz, Section Chief Counsel, Phoenix and Jonathan Bass, Assistant Attorney General, Tucson Counsel for Appellee

Lori J. Lefferts, Pima County Public Defender by David J. Euchner, Assistant Public Defender, Tucson and Elena M. Kay, Assistant Public Defender, Tucson Counsel for Appellant

Judge Miller authored the decision of the Court, in which Chief Judge Howard and Presiding Judge Vásquez concurred.


MILLER, Judge:

¶1 After a jury trial, appellant Corina Castro was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault for using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument to cause serious physical injury to G.C., and one count of assault against N.I., each committed while Castro was on probation for a felony offense. The trial court imposed presumptive, concurrent terms of imprisonment of 7.5 years for the aggravated assaults and a six-month term of incarceration for the simple assault. On appeal, Castro argues the court erroneously denied her motion to suppress inculpatory statements she made to a Tucson Police Detective. She maintains the statements were inadmissible because they were involuntary and were obtained in violation of Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477 (1981). For the reasons that follow, we affirm.


¶2 At about 1:30 p.m. on December 25, 2011, Castro was walking on a residential street with her daughter and her niece when G.C. drove alongside them and spoke in a way that Castro characterized as "hitting on" her fourteen-year-old daughter. After Castro cursed G.C. and spit on his car, G.C. stopped his vehicle, got out, and confronted her. N.I., a friend of G.C.'s who lived in the neighborhood, approached G.C. and saw Castro speaking into her cellular telephone. Another car drove up and the driver spoke briefly to Castro, who pointed toward G.C. and N.I. and said, "That's the m__f__right there." The driver got out of the car wielding a baseball bat and struck N.I. in the head, knocking him to the ground. Castro yelled, "That's the wrong one, " and the unknown man then began beating G.C. with the bat, hitting him multiple times in the head and back before getting back into his vehicle and driving away.

¶3 Tucson Police Department personnel responded, and Officer D. Lucas was walking over to speak with Castro near the scene when she said, "I'm going to tell you exactly what happened." She then told him she was drunk and said, "I'm not lying, guy. I hit him in the head with a baseball bat." She also told him she had thrown the bat into some bushes. Lucas noticed blood spots on Castro's sleeves and decided to detain her for further questioning. After Lucas had advised her of her rights pursuant to Miranda, [1]Castro stated, "[N]o, I don't understand. I want a f__lawyer."

¶4 Although Lucas asked no further questions, Castro told him she wanted to speak with a supervisor. Lucas complied with her request, and Castro told a police sergeant that she wanted to show Lucas where she had thrown the bat. Lucas then drove Castro to the area she indicated, and she told Lucas she had thrown the bat "in the bush right there, " but Lucas found no bat. Castro continued to talk to Lucas while in his custody, telling him "she didn't know what to do" and asking his advice, which Lucas declined to give. She then complained of stomach pain and asked for medical attention; Lucas called for medical personnel and, at Castro's request, she was transported to a hospital.

¶5 Later that afternoon, Detective J. Bogdanowich went to the same hospital to conduct interviews with G.C. and N.I. G.C. could not be interviewed because he was unconscious; after Bogdanowich interviewed N.I., he tried to speak with Castro, but she was sleeping and did not rouse. Bogdanowich returned several hours later and found Castro awake and alert; in a tape-recorded interview, he advised Castro of her rights pursuant to Miranda, and she agreed to speak with him. During the interview, Castro admitted she had telephoned the man who had come to the scene with a baseball bat, whom she refused to identify, and also admitted she had kicked G.C. in the face while he was lying on the street.

¶6 Castro moved to suppress her statements to Bogdanowich on the ground that they had been obtained in violation of Miranda and State v. Edwards, 111 Ariz. 357, 529 P.2d 1174 (1974). At a hearing on the motion, Bogdanowich testified that he did not recall being told that Lucas had previously advised Castro of her Miranda rights or that she had invoked a right to counsel, and that he typically makes a note when he is made aware of prior Miranda warnings, which he did not do in this case. At the close of the hearing, Castro argued, for the first time, that her statements to Bogdanowich were inadmissible on the additional ground that they were involuntary due to her condition in the hospital. In an under-advisement ruling, the trial court wrote,

The defendant's earlier invocation of her Miranda rights would be controlling as to the statement she made to Detective Bogdanowich if the court determines that it is valid. While the defendant did invoke her rights initially, she immediately initiated conversation with the officer, through no prompting by him, by asking to speak to a supervisor, telling the officer she would show him where the bat was located, commenting about the victims, etc. This conduct constitutes a negation of the invocation ...

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