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State v. Dodd

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

December 7, 2017

STATE OF ARIZONA, Appellee,
v.
ROBERT JAMES DODD, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Superior Court in Mohave County No. S8015CR201400581 The Honorable Steven F. Conn, Judge (Retired)

          Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix By Terry M. Crist, III Counsel for Appellee.

          Office of the Legal Advocate, Kingman By Jill L. Evans Counsel for Appellant

          Presiding Judge Randall M. Howe delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Judge Lawrence F. Winthrop and Judge Jon W. Thompson joined.

          OPINION

          HOWE, JUDGE:

         ¶1 We address in this opinion whether sufficient evidence supports Robert James Dodd's conviction and sentence for aggravated assault causing serious physical injury. Because our resolution of only this issue from Dodd's appeal merits publication, we have addressed Dodd's other arguments in a separate unpublished memorandum decision issued simultaneously with this opinion. See Ariz. R. Sup. Ct. 111(h); Ariz. R. Crim. P. 31.26.

         ¶2 Dodd argues that the State's evidence was insufficient in two respects: first, the State failed to show whether the victim was injured in the collision he admittedly caused, or in the deliberate collision the police used in apprehending him; second, the State failed to show that the victim's injury constituted a "serious physical injury" under A.R.S. § 13-105(39) because no evidence was presented showing the extent and duration of the injury.

         ¶3 Neither argument has merit. The State need not prove which specific collision caused a victim to sustain an injury during a police pursuit, only that the defendant's actions were the legal and proximate cause of the injury. And although the State did not present any specific evidence about the extent and duration of the injury, evidence about its severity-a broken and dislocated femur and hip socket that required orthopedic surgery at a high-level trauma center-was sufficient for the jurors to conclude that it was extensive enough and would endure long enough to constitute a "serious physical injury." Accordingly, for the following reasons and those set forth in the accompanying unpublished memorandum decision, we affirm Dodd's convictions and sentences.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶4 In April 2014, Dodd engaged Arizona Department of Public Safety ("DPS") officers in a high-speed pursuit in Kingman when the officers tried to stop him pursuant to an arrest warrant. Over the course of the chase, Dodd drove erratically, driving into oncoming traffic, throwing objects out of his car, and driving up to 50 miles over the posted speed limits. Roughly seven minutes after the pursuit began, Dodd ran through a stop sign and struck a car that had the right-of-way, killing its driver. After the collision, Dodd's car came to a stop. One DPS officer who had followed Dodd since the beginning of the chase parked his car and ran across the intersection toward Dodd's car with his weapon drawn. As the officer approached, Dodd got out of the car. Believing that Dodd might attempt to flee, another DPS officer who had joined the pursuit deliberately hit the back of Dodd's car with his police cruiser, pushing Dodd's car into him and causing him to fall to the ground.

         ¶5 After taking Dodd into custody, the officer discovered that Dodd had a passenger, B.B., who had gotten out of the car and was lying on the ground next to the car, bleeding from her mouth and crying. B.B. was initially transported to the local hospital to treat her injuries. After the treating physician examined her, she was transported to a facility that could treat a higher level of trauma. The State charged Dodd with, among several other charges, two counts of aggravated assault predicated on B.B.'s injuries: intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing serious physical injury to B.B. in violation of A.R.S. §§ 13-1204(A)(1) and -1203(A)(1) and intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing physical injury to B.B. with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument in violation of A.R.S. §§ 13-1204(A)(2) and -1203(A)(1), both class 3 felonies.

         ¶6 At trial, the State called the treating physician that examined B.B. at the local hospital. He testified that B.B. not only had multiple rib fractures and a pulmonary contusion, but also a fracture of her femur and her acetabulum - the joint socket where the femur connects with the pelvis. The fractures of her femur and acetabulum had also caused her femur to become dislocated from her pelvis. The injuries to her hip and leg were so severe that she could not be adequately treated at Kingman Regional Medical Center, but had to be moved to a higher-level trauma center that had an orthopedic surgeon. Surgery was necessary to repair the bones and put the femur back into place in the joint socket.

         ¶7 After a four-day trial, the jury convicted Dodd on all counts, including aggravated assault causing serious physical injury to B.B. The trial court sentenced Dodd to the presumptive term of 11.25 ...


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