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State ex rel. Montgomery v. Padilla

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

May 8, 2015

STATE OF ARIZONA ex rel. WILLIAM G. MONTGOMERY, Maricopa County Attorney, Petitioner,
v.
THE HONORABLE JOSE PADILLA, Judge of the SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF ARIZONA, in and for the County of Maricopa, Respondent Judge, CHRIS SIMCOX, a.k.a. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN SIMCOX, Real Party in Interest

As Amended May 28, 2015.

Page 1101

Petition for Special Action from the Superior Court in Maricopa County. No. CR2013-428563-001. The Honorable Jose S. Padilla, Judge.

Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Phoenix, By Keli B. Luther, Counsel for Petitioner.

Chris Simcox, Phoenix, Pro Per Real Party in Interest.

Office of the Legal Defender, Phoenix, By Robert Shipman, Sheena Chawla, Advisory Counsel for Real Party in Interest Simcox.

Wilenchik & Bartness P.C., Phoenix, By John D. Wilenchik, Counsel for Amicus Curiae M.A. on behalf of J.D.

Arizona Voice for Crime Victims, Tempe, By Colleen Clase, Counsel for Amicus Curiae A.S. on behalf of Z.S.

Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys' Advisory Counsel, Phoenix, By Elizabeth B. Ortiz, Counsel for Amicus Curiae Arizona Prosecuting Attorney's Advisory Counsel.

Pima County Public Defender's Office, Tucson, By David J. Euchner; Maricopa County Public Defender's Office, Phoenix, By Mikel P. Steinfeld, Amy Kalman; Osborn Maledon, P.A., Phoenix, By Kathleen E. Brody, Counsel for Amicus Curiae Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice.

Judge Randall M. Howe delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Margaret H. Downie and Judge Patricia K. Norris joined.

OPINION

Page 1102

HOWE, Judge:

¶1 The State of Arizona seeks special action relief from the trial court's refusal to restrict Defendant Chris Simcox from personally cross-examining the child victims and witness in his trial on several sex charges. We accept jurisdiction because the State has no adequate remedy by appeal and the issue is one of first impression and statewide importance. Ariz. R.P. Spec. Act. 1(a); Ariz. Dep't of Econ. Sec. v. Superior Court (Angie P.), 232 Ariz. 576, 579 ¶ 4, 307 P.3d 1003, 1006 (App. 2013).

¶2 We deny relief, however. A trial court may exercise its discretion to restrict a self-represented defendant from personally cross-examining a child witness without violating a defendant's constitutional rights to confrontation and self-representation. It can do so, however, only after considering evidence and making individualized findings that such a restriction is necessary to protect the witness from trauma. Because the State did not present such evidence--and in fact eschewed the ...


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