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Samiuddin v. Nothwehr

Supreme Court of Arizona

November 2, 2017

Mohamed Isma Samiuddin, Petitioner,
v.
The Honorable Richard Nothwehr, Commissioner of the Superior Court of the State of Arizona, in and for the County of Maricopa, Respondent Commissioner, State of Arizona, Real Party in Interest.

         Special Action from the Superior Court in Maricopa County The Honorable Richard Nothwehr, Commissioner No. CR2016-130296, VACATED AND REMANDED

          James J. Haas, Maricopa County Public Defender, Seth Apfel (argued), Karen Vandergaw, Deputy Public Defenders, Phoenix, Attorneys for Mohamed Isma Samiuddin

          William G. Montgomery, Maricopa County Attorney, Amanda M. Parker (argued), Deputy County Attorney, Phoenix, Attorneys for State of Arizona

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

          OPINION

          LOPEZ, JUSTICE

          ¶1 We consider whether Arizona law authorizes Petitioner Mohamed Samiuddin's pretrial release conditions requiring that he reside apart from his family and that he have no unsupervised contact with his minor non-victim children and whether the conditions violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

         ¶2 We hold that the Arizona Constitution, statutes, and rules authorize the trial court to impose such pretrial release conditions. These conditions, however, must comply with the newly promulgated Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure 7.2(a) and 7.3(b), which require release conditions to be "the least onerous" that are "reasonable and necessary to protect other persons or the community." Although Samiuddin has a right to be heard, neither Arizona law nor Fourteenth Amendment due process require a trial court to hold an evidentiary hearing to impose or reconsider a pretrial release condition. The trial court, however, must make an individualized determination supported by findings sufficient for appellate review concerning whether the pretrial release conditions are the least onerous measures reasonable and necessary to protect Samiuddin's children.

         BACKGROUND

         ¶3 Samiuddin was charged with five counts of public sexual indecency to a minor, class five felonies under A.R.S. § 13-1403(B), and two counts of public sexual indecency, class one misdemeanors under A.R.S. § 13-1403(A), after he allegedly stood nude at his apartment window and masturbated in view of the victims, two women and five children, who were walking on the sidewalk. The victims claimed that as they continued walking, Samiuddin ran out of his apartment with a "towel" (a sarong, common attire in Samiuddin's native Rohingyan culture) wrapped around his waist, proclaiming his innocence. Samiuddin denies the allegations, including that he interacted with the victims after his alleged exposure.

         ¶4 At his arraignment, the trial court found Samiuddin bailable as a matter of right and released him on his own recognizance with several pretrial release conditions, including that he reside apart from his family and that he have no contact with minors under any circumstance. Because Samiuddin claims to live with several of his minor children, he sought to modify the release conditions to allow unsupervised contact with his children and to permit him to return home. Samiuddin argued that the conditions were improper for three reasons: (1) the State presented no evidence he harmed or posed a danger to his minor children; (2) his family should remain together because they are recent refugees; and (3) he is likely innocent of the charges. The trial court, after a hearing, modified the release order to allow Samiuddin to have contact with his children if he "is supervised by a court approved monitor" and pays the costs of supervision.

         ¶5 The record on review is meager: the trial court's order modifying Samiuddin's release conditions lacks factual findings or justification for the release conditions, although the parties contend the court during the hearing referenced "Form 4, " a police probable cause statement that summarizes the offense conduct but does not mention Samiuddin's children; there is no transcript of the hearing; and the recording of the hearing is inaudible due to technical defects.

         ¶6 Samiuddin argues that Arizona law does not authorize the conditions, but, if it did, the conditions violate his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights. The court of appeals declined jurisdiction of Samiuddin's special action, but we granted review because he lacks a sufficient remedy by appeal and the standards that apply to pretrial release conditions restricting a parent's access to a minor non-victim child present a recurring issue of statewide importance. We have jurisdiction pursuant to article 6, section 5(3) of the Arizona Constitution and A.R.S. § 12-120.24.

         DISCUSSION

         ¶7 We review pretrial release conditions for abuse of discretion, Gusick v. Boies,72 Ariz. 233, 235 (1951), and we interpret statutes, rules, and constitutional provisions de novo. Allen v. Sanders,240 Ariz. 569, 571 ¶ 9 (2016); Massey v. Bayless, 187 Ariz. 72, 73 (1996). "[T]he words of a statute are to be given their ordinary meaning unless it appears from the context ...


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