Appeal from the Superior Court in Santa Cruz County No. CR10209 The Honorable James A. Soto, Judge
Thomas C. Horne, Arizona Attorney General Joseph T. Maziarz, Section Chief Counsel, Phoenix By Alan L. Amann, Assistant Attorney General, Tucson Counsel for Appellee
Barton & Storts, P.C., Tucson By Brick P. Storts, III Counsel for Appellant
Judge Howard authored the opinion of the Court, in which Judge Vásquez and Judge Miller concurred.
¶1 After a jury trial, Crispin Granados was convicted of kidnapping, second-degree burglary, two counts of sexual assault, aggravated assault, and aggravated harassment. On appeal, he argues the trial court displayed judicial bias and erred in some of its evidentiary rulings. For the following reasons, we affirm.
Factual and Procedural Background
¶2 We view the evidence in the light most favorable to upholding the convictions. State v. Pena, 233 Ariz. 112, ¶ 2, 309 P.3d 936, 938 (App. 2013). In September 2010, P.L., at the time approximately seventy-two years old, went outside to feed her dog. Granados grabbed her, threw her against the wall several times, and told her that "he was going to suffocate [her] with [his] jacket." Granados took P.L. inside the house and continued hitting her. He then took P.L. into her bedroom and sexually assaulted her.
¶3 Granados remained in the house for the next two days; he continually watched P.L. to ensure she did not leave, disconnected her telephones, threatened her, threatened to kidnap her grandchildren and kill her children if she told anyone about him, did not allow her to eat, and allowed her to have only one glass of water. During that time, Granados continued to physically assault P.L. and sexually assaulted her two more times.
¶4 On the third day, P.L. told Granados she would lift an injunction against harassment she had obtained against him before this incident if he allowed her to go to a previously scheduled doctor's appointment, and Granados agreed. P.L. met her daughter at the doctor's office, told her what had happened, and they reported it to the police.
¶5 Granados was charged and convicted as noted above. He was sentenced to aggravated, enhanced, concurrent and consecutive terms of imprisonment totaling twenty years.
¶6 Granados argues that because the trial court removed him from the courtroom during part of voir dire and sustained objections during his testimony later in the trial, the court infected the trial with an appearance of bias. Granados contends he is entitled to structural error review, which does not require a defendant to object at the trial level. See State v. Ring, 204 Ariz. 534, ¶ 46, 65 P.3d 915, 933 (2003); State v. Valverde, 220 Ariz. 582, ¶ 10, 208 P.3d 233, 235-36 (2009).
¶7 Structural error is error so serious that it "'deprive[s] defendants of basic protections without which a criminal trial cannot reliably serve its function as a vehicle for determination of guilt or innocence'" and, if found, is prejudicial per se and requires reversal. Valverde, 220 Ariz. 582, ¶ 10, 208 P.3d at 235, quoting Ring, 204 Ariz. 534, ¶ 45, 65 P.3d at 933 (alterations in Valverde). In Ring, our supreme court stated that the United States Supreme Court defined "a biased trial judge" as one of the "relatively few ...