from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No.
CR2016-005574-001 DT The Honorable Erin Otis, Judge
Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix By Elizabeth
B. N. Garcia Counsel for Appellee
Maricopa County Legal Defender's Office, Phoenix By
Cynthia D. Beck Counsel for Appellant
Lawrence F. Winthrop delivered the opinion of the Court, in
which Presiding Judge James B. Morse Jr. and Judge Kent E.
We address in this opinion whether the trial court imposed a
lawful sentence following Jack Buchanan Scalph's
convictions for possession of dangerous drugs for sale,
possession of marijuana for sale, possession of drug
paraphernalia, and four counts of misconduct involving
weapons. Because only this issue from Scalph's appeal
merits publication, we have addressed Scalph'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arguments in a separate, unpublished memorandum decision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. 31.19(f).
Scalph argues that the trial court imposed an illegal
sentence on Count 1, possession of dangerous drugs for sale,
because it "combined" Arizona Revised Statutes
("A.R.S.") sections 13-3407 (West 2018) and
13-703(J). Scalph argues that he should have instead
been sentenced either as a repetitive offender pursuant to
A.R.S. § 13-703(J) or given a "flat-time"
sentence under A.R.S. § 13-3407(E). We disagree.
Section 13-703 plainly states that early release provisions
do not apply when another statute or provision of law
specifies a later release or requires completion of the
prison sentence before release. Scalph was convicted of
violating § 13-3407 based on his possession of
methamphetamine for sale. In this situation, §
13-3407(F) expressly requires the court to impose a
calendar-year prison term. Section 13-3407 is a statute
specifically requiring the completion of a prison sentence
before release; as such, the general release provisions of
§ 13-703 do not apply. Accordingly, for the following
reasons and those set forth in the accompanying unpublished
memorandum decision, we affirm Scalph's convictions and
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Police officers searched Scalph's home pursuant to a
warrant and discovered four guns. In a hidden compartment
behind a shower, police found illicit drugs, a digital scale,
and plastic baggies. The State charged Scalph with one count
each of possession of dangerous drugs for sale
(methamphetamine), a class 2 felony; possession of narcotic
drugs for sale (heroin), a class 2 felony; possession of
marijuana for sale, a class 4 felony; possession of drug
paraphernalia, a class 6 felony; and eight counts of
misconduct involving weapons, class 4 felonies.
The State proceeded to trial on the drug charges and the four
weapons charges that were based on allegations Scalph
possessed the firearms during the commission of the drug
offenses. See A.R.S. § 13-3102(A)(8).
The jury could not reach a verdict regarding the heroin
offense, but found Scalph guilty of the other charges. The
jury also found the State sufficiently proved aggravating
factors, including that Scalph was on probation for a felony
conviction at the time he committed the offenses. The court
subsequently found Scalph had two historical prior felony
convictions. Pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-703(C) and (J), the
court sentenced Scalph to presumptive concurrent prison terms
as a category 3 repetitive offender, including a 15.75-year
sentence on Count 1 (the methamphetamine offense), a
3.75-year sentence on Count 4 (paraphernalia), and 10-year
sentences on the remaining counts. With respect to Count 1,
the court ordered Scalph's prison sentence to be served
day-for-day, or "flat-time," in accordance with
A.R.S. § 13-3407(A)(2), (F). Scalph timely appealed, and
we have jurisdiction pursuant to Article 6, Section 9, of the
Arizona Constitution, A.R.S. §§ 12-120.21(A)(1),
13-4031, and -4033(A)(1).
Scalph argues that, for Count 1, the trial court erred in
sentencing him as a repetitive offender and imposing a
sentence without the possibility of early release (a
"flat-time sentence"). According to Scalph, the
court should have applied either A.R.S. § 13-703, the
repeat offender sentencing statute, or A.R.S. § 13-3407,
which requires a flat-time sentence for a conviction of
possession of methamphetamine for sale. See A.R.S.
§§ 13-703(J), -3407(F).
To address Scalph's argument, we must interpret the
applicable statutes, an undertaking we conduct de novo.
State v. Neese,239 Ariz. 84, 86, ¶ 8 (App. 2016).
When interpreting a statute, our goal is to give effect to
the legislature's intent. State v. Peek, 219
Ariz. 182, 184, ¶ 11 (2008). We look first to the
language of the statute because it is the best indication of
the legislature's intent. Id. If "the
language is clear and unequivocal, it is determinative of the
statute's construction." State v. ...