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State v. Jurden

Supreme Court of Arizona

July 1, 2016

STATE OF ARIZONA, Appellee,
v.
SAMKEITA JAHVEH JURDEN, Appellant

         Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County. The Honorable Brian Kaiser, Commissioner. No. CR-2012-150667. Opinion of the Court of Appeals, Division One. 237 Ariz. 423, 352 P.3d 455 (App. 2015) .

          Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County, AFFIRMED IN PART, VACATED IN PART. Opinion of the Court of Appeals, Division One, VACATED.

         Mark Brnovich, Arizona Attorney General, John R. Lopez IV, Solicitor General, Joseph T. Maziarz, Chief Counsel, Criminal Appeals Section, Christopher M. DeRose (argued), Special Assistant Attorney General for Appeals, Criminal Appeals Section, Phoenix, Attorneys for State of Arizona.

         Maricopa County Public Defender's Office, Jeffrey L. Force (argued), Deputy Public Defender, Phoenix, Attorneys for Samkeita Jahveh Jurden.

         JUSTICE BOLICK authored the opinion of the Court, in which CHIEF JUSTICE BALES, VICE CHIEF JUSTICE PELANDER, and JUSTICES BRUTINEL and TIMMER joined.

          OPINION

         BOLICK, JUSTICE

         [¶1] We granted review to determine whether multiple convictions under Arizona's resisting arrest statute, A.R.S. § 13-2508, that arise from a single, uninterrupted course of conduct constitute multiple convictions for the same offense in violation of the Double Jeopardy Clause. We hold that, regardless of the number of officers involved, § 13-2508 only permits one conviction when a defendant resists an arrest in the course of a single, continuous event.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         [¶2] In September 2012, Samkeita Jahveh Jurden walked into a department store shirtless, shoeless, and with an unleashed dog. The store's security guard contacted the police after Jurden refused to leave. Jurden remained even after two officers arrived and also asked him to leave. When the officers attempted to arrest Jurden, he resisted by biting and kicking one officer and flailing and pulling his arms away from the other. The officers struggled with Jurden for nearly four minutes before subduing and handcuffing him. The resistance and arrest formed one, uninterrupted course of conduct.

         [¶3] A grand jury indicted Jurden on two counts of aggravated assault, one count of criminal trespass, and two counts of resisting arrest under A.R.S. § 13-2508(A)(1)--one for each officer resisted. A jury found Jurden guilty on all charges except one aggravated assault count.

         [¶4] The trial court sentenced Jurden to concurrent rather than consecutive terms of imprisonment. In accordance with A.R.S. § 13-711(A), the trial judge explained his reasoning:

[A]ll the more when I watch the video in this case, it's all one incident and it starts and it just continues. . . . Perhaps, if there were some lengthy delay between one event and another, there might be a better justification of the idea of consecutive sentences. But this all starts and ends in just one big melee, really, and so the idea of consecutive sentences here doesn't seem appropriate to me, under the circumstances.

         [¶5] On appeal, Jurden argued that his two convictions under § 13-2508 for resisting arrest arose from a single offense and, therefore, his second conviction arose from the same offense and violated the Double Jeopardy Clause. In a split decision, the court of appeals agreed and vacated one of the convictions. State v. Jurden, 237 Ariz. 423, 429 ¶ 21, 352 P.3d 455, 461 (App. 2015).

         [¶6] We granted review because whether § 13-2508 authorizes multiple convictions and punishments for resisting arrest in one, uninterrupted course of conduct that involves more than one officer presents a recurring issue of statewide importance. We have jurisdiction pursuant to ...


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