Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Kaniowsky v. Pima County Consolidated Justice Court

Court of Appeals of Arizona, Second Division

March 21, 2016

PETER J. KANIOWSKY, Plaintiff/Appellant,
v.
THE PIMA COUNTY CONSOLIDATED JUSTICE COURT; THE HON. MARIA L. FELIX, A JUDGE THEREOF; AND THE PIMA COUNTY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Defendants/Appellees

          Appeal from the Superior Court in Pima County. No. C20151493. The Honorable Richard D. Nichols, Judge.

         Benavidez Law Group, P.C., Tucson, By Javier Alatorre, Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant.

         Barbara LaWall, Pima County Attorney, By Jacob R. Lines, Tucson, Counsel for Defendants/Appellees.

         Presiding Judge Howard authored the opinion of the Court, in which Judge Espinosa and Judge Staring concurred.

          OPINION

         HOWARD, Presiding Judge:

         [¶1] Peter Kaniowsky appeals from the trial court's denial of relief in his special action challenging the Pima County Justice Court's denial of his request for a jury trial on five unlawful imprisonment charges. Kaniowsky argues he is entitled to a jury trial because unlawful imprisonment was a jury-eligible offense at common law. Because we agree with Kaniowsky, we vacate the court's order and remand for further proceedings.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         [¶2] The relevant facts are not in dispute. Kaniowsky was charged in justice court with five counts each of assault and unlawful imprisonment. He filed a motion requesting a jury trial for the false imprisonment counts,[1] which the court denied. He then filed a complaint for special action in superior court, arguing he was entitled to a jury trial because false imprisonment was a jury-eligible offense at common law. The superior court accepted jurisdiction but denied relief. It reasoned that Amancio v. Forster, 196 Ariz. 95, 98, 993 P.2d 1059, 1062 (App. 1999), which concluded that unlawful imprisonment was not a jury-eligible offense based on its seriousness, was controlling and thus Kaniowsky was not entitled to a jury trial. We have jurisdiction over Kaniowsky's appeal pursuant to A.R.S. § § 12-120.21(A)(1) and 12-2101(A)(1). See Ariz. R. P. Spec. Actions 8(a).

         Applicability of Amancio

         [¶3] Kaniowsky argues that the superior court erred by relying on Amancio because it did not reach the question of whether unlawful imprisonment had a jury-eligible counterpart in common law. When the superior court accepts jurisdiction of a special action, but denies relief, we review for an abuse of discretion. Merlina v. Jejna, 208 Ariz. 1, ¶ 6, 90 P.3d 202, 204 (App. 2004). Whether a defendant is entitled to a jury trial, however, is a question of law we review de novo. Urs v. Maricopa Cty. Attorney's Office, 201 Ariz. 71, ¶ 2, 31 P.3d 845, 846 (App. 2001). An error of law may constitute an abuse of discretion. State v. Wall, 212 Ariz. 1, ¶ 12, 126 P.3d 148, 150 (2006).

         [¶4] At the time Amancio was decided, our supreme court had identified three factors as relevant to determining a defendant's right to a jury trial, any one which could independently give rise to jury eligibility. See Derendal v. Griffith, 209 Ariz. 416, ¶ 5, 104 P.3d 147, 149 (2005) (overruling Rothweiler v. Superior Court, 100 Ariz. 37, 410 P.2d 479 (1966)). The existence of a jury-eligible common law antecedent was one factor and the seriousness of the offense was another. Id.

         [¶5] The defendant in Amancio argued the seriousness of the offense entitled him to a jury trial and conceded that unlawful imprisonment did not have a jury-eligible common law antecedent. 196 Ariz. 95, ¶ 7, 993 P.2d at 1060. The court, in its analysis, thus focused solely on the seriousness of the offense. Id. ¶ ¶ 7-15.

         [¶6] The defendant's concession deprived the court of " the opportunity to address [the] argument that" unlawful imprisonment had a jury-eligible common law antecedent, thus waiving the issue for review. Harris v. Cochise Health Sys., 215 Ariz. 344, ¶ 18, 160 P.3d 223, 229 (App. 2007); see also State v. Bolton, 182 Ariz. 290, 298, 896 P.2d 830, 838 (1995) ( insufficient argument on appeal waives claim). That waiver meant the court was not " fully advised on the question." Creach v. Angulo, 186 Ariz. 548, 552, 925 P.2d 689, 693 (App. 1996). Consequently, the court's statement that " there was . . . no entitlement to a jury trial under the common law," Amancio, 196 Ariz. 95, ¶ 16, 993 P.2d at 1062, was dictum, Creach, 186 Ariz. at 552, 925 P.2d at 693; see also Town of Chino Valley v. City of Prescott, 131 Ariz. 78, 81, 638 P.2d 1324, 1327 (1981) ( court's statement on question not necessarily decided in case is dictum). And in any event, based on the following analysis, we conclude that any statement in Amancio indicating unlawful imprisonment does not have a common law antecedent is an incorrect statement of the law.

         False ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.