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State ex rel. Polk v. Campbell

Supreme Court of Arizona

May 19, 2016

State of Arizona ex rel. Sheila Sullivan Polk, Yavapai County Attorney, Petitioner,
v.
The Honorable Jennifer B. Campbell, Judge of Superior Court of the State of Arizona, in and for the County of Yavapai, Respondent Judge, Francis Frederick Kraps, Real Party in Interest.

         Special Action from the Superior Court in Yavapai County The Honorable Jennifer B. Campbell, Judge No. CR 201400413

         Opinion of the Court of Appeals, Division One 238 Ariz. 109, 357 P.3d 144 (App. 2015) VACATED

          Sheila Sullivan Polk, Yavapai County Attorney, Dennis M. McGrane (argued), Chief Deputy County Attorney, Bill R. Hughes, Deputy County Attorney, Prescott, Attorneys for State of Arizona

          John M. Sears (argued), Law Offices of John M. Sears, P.C., Prescott, Attorneys for Francis Frederick Kraps

          JUSTICE TIMMER authored the opinion of the Court, in which CHIEF JUSTICE BALES, VICE CHIEF JUSTICE PELANDER, JUSTICE BOLICK and JUDGE ESPINOSA [*] joined.

          OPINION

          TIMMER, JUSTICE.

         ¶1 Under A.R.S. § 13-3212, enhanced and consecutive sentencing provisions apply when a defendant is convicted of engaging in child prostitution knowing that the person is a minor aged fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen. We today hold that these provisions also apply when the "minor" is actually an undercover peace officer.

         I. BACKGROUND

         ¶2 The State indicted Francis Kraps on two counts of child prostitution in violation of A.R.S. § 13-3212(B)(2).[1] During a pre-trial hearing, the superior court advised Kraps that if he was convicted, the court was required to impose an enhanced sentence between seven and twenty-one years' imprisonment for each count without the possibility of early release, and that the sentences would be served consecutively. See A.R.S. §§ 13-3212(D), (G). Kraps moved for reconsideration, asserting that because the "minors" involved were actually undercover police officers posing as sixteen-year-old girls, these sentencing provisions did not apply. The court agreed, ruling that "engaging in any form of child prostitution is a Class 2 felony, " but that the enhanced sentencing and consecutive sentencing provisions apply only when actual minors are involved. At the State's request, the court stayed the case to permit special action review.

         ¶3 The court of appeals reversed the trial court's ruling, holding that the enhanced sentencing provisions in § 13-3212(G) apply when an undercover police officer poses as a minor aged fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen. State ex rel. Polk v. Campbell, 238 Ariz. 109, 110 ¶ 1, 357 P.3d 144, 145 (App. 2015). The court did not address consecutive sentencing under § 13-3212(D). We granted Kraps's petition for review because it presents a recurring legal question of statewide importance. We have jurisdiction pursuant to article 6, section 5 of the Arizona Constitution and A.R.S. § 12-120.24.

         II. DISCUSSION

         ¶4 Because the interpretation of § 13-3212 is an issue of law, we review the trial court's ruling de novo. Cf. Ariz. Citizens Clean Elections Comm'n v. Brain, 234 Ariz. 322, 325 ¶ 11, 322 P.3d 139, 142 (2014).

         ¶5 Our objective in interpreting statutes is to give effect to the legislature's intent. Baker v. Univ. Physicians Healthcare, 231 Ariz. 379, 383 ¶ 8, 296 P.3d 42, 46 (2013). If the statutory language is unambiguous, we apply it as written without further analysis. Cf. Deer Valley Unified Sch. Dist. No. 97 v. Houser, 214 Ariz. 293, 296 ¶ 8, 152 P.3d 490, 493 (2007). If, however, the statute is subject to more than one reasonable interpretation, we consider secondary principles of statutory interpretation, such as "the context of the statute, the language used, the subject matter, its historical background, its effects and consequences, and its spirit and purpose." Ariz. Citizens Clean Elections Comm'n, 234 Ariz. at 325 ¶ 11, 322 P.3d at 142 (quoting Wyatt v. Wehmueller, 167 Ariz. 281, 284, 806 P.2d 870, 873 (1991)).

         ¶6 A person commits child prostitution by causing or enabling a minor to engage in prostitution, § 13-3212(A), or by engaging in prostitution with a minor, § 13-3212(B). Kraps is charged with committing child prostitution in violation of § 13-3212(B)(2), which provides that "[a] person who is at least eighteen years of age commits child prostitution by knowingly . . . [e]ngaging in prostitution with a minor who the person knows is fifteen, sixteen or seventeen years of age." Although the undercover police officers involved here were over age eighteen, "[i]t is not a defense to a prosecution" under subsection (B)(2) "that the other person is a peace officer posing as a minor or a person assisting a ...


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