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State v. Ayonayon

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

August 16, 2018

STATE OF ARIZONA, Appellee,
v.
GILBERT RAY AYONAYON, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. CR2016-110588-001 The Honorable Cynthia L. Gialketsis, Judge Pro Tempore The Honorable Joseph P. Mikitish, Judge The Honorable Dean M. Fink, Judge

          Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix By Jana Zinman Counsel for Appellee

          Maricopa County Public Defender's Office, Phoenix By Edward F. McGee Counsel for Appellant

          Judge Paul J. McMurdie delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Kenton D. Jones and Judge Diane M. Johnsen joined.

          OPINION

          MCMURDIE, JUDGE

         ¶1 Gilbert Ray Ayonayon appeals the superior court's order affirming a $45 bench warrant fee following his convictions for burglary in the third degree and possession of burglary tools. We hold a bench warrant fee imposed pursuant to Maricopa County Superior Court Administrative Order No. 2004-199 ("Administrative Order") is statutorily authorized by Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.") section 11-251.08 and is not a criminal fine. We also hold the superior court did not err by ordering Ayonayon to pay the bench warrant fee, despite the bench warrants being quashed. Accordingly, we affirm the superior court's order imposing the bench warrant fee against Ayonayon.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         ¶2 The State charged Ayonayon on one count each of burglary in the third degree, a class 4 felony, and possession of burglary tools, a class 6 felony. After Ayonayon failed to appear for the preliminary hearing, the superior court issued a bench warrant for his arrest, and imposed a $45 bench warrant fee. Ayonayon moved to quash the bench warrant, arguing: "Please quash the warrant in this case. This is the first time Mr. Ayonayon has been in court & need [sic] time to get mental health docs." The court quashed the warrant but did not vacate the bench warrant fee. Several months later, Ayonayon failed to attend a status conference, and the court again issued a bench warrant and imposed a $45 fee. Ayonayon moved to quash the second bench warrant, claiming he was unable to attend the status conference due to a family emergency. After oral argument on the motion, the superior court quashed the bench warrant. A jury subsequently convicted Ayonayon as charged. At sentencing, the superior court imposed concurrent sentences, the longest of which was seven years, and ordered Ayonayon to pay the $45 "warrant charge." Ayonayon timely appealed, and we have jurisdiction pursuant to A.R.S. §§ 12-120.21(A)(1), 13-4031, and -4033(A)(1).

         DISCUSSION

         ¶3 Ayonayon only challenges the superior court's imposition of the bench warrant fee. Because Ayonayon failed to raise this issue below, we review for fundamental error. See State v. Henderson, 210 Ariz. 561, 567, ¶ 19 (2005). To prevail under fundamental-error review, Ayonayon "must establish both that fundamental error exists and that the error in his case caused him prejudice." See id. at ¶ 20. "Generally, imposition of an illegal sentence constitutes fundamental error." State v. Soria, 217 Ariz. 101, 102, ¶ 4 (App. 2007) (quoting State v. Munninger, 213 Ariz. 393, 397, ¶ 11 (App. 2006)).

         ¶4 The parties' arguments focus on the bench warrant fee imposed after Ayonayon's failure to appear at the status conference. However, the superior court also issued a bench warrant for Ayonayon's arrest after he failed to appear at the preliminary hearing, and both minute entries directed Ayonayon to pay a $45 fee "immediately." Both bench warrants were quashed, but neither fee was vacated, and there is no evidence in the record regarding whether Ayonayon paid either fee. Thus, it is unclear which bench warrant fee the superior court affirmed at sentencing. However, regardless of which bench warrant fee was affirmed at sentencing, we find no error.

         ¶5 Maricopa County Superior Court Administrative Order No. 2004-199 authorizes a court to impose a $45 "warrant fee" "on defendants whose arrest is commanded by a bench warrant for, 1) their failure to appear in court as required; or 2) their failure to pay outstanding fines and fees . . . ."[1] The Administrative Order was adopted pursuant to A.R.S. § 11-251.08(A), which provides:

In addition to any other county power or authority the board of supervisors may adopt fee schedules for any specific products and services the county provides to the public. Notwithstanding fee schedules or individual charges in statute, a board of supervisors may adopt an additional charge or separate individual charge.

         The bench warrant fee "is designed to recover costs associated with issuing a bench warrant arising out of a failure to appear . . . . Its application is limited, therefore, to circumstances where a defendant fails to follow the express ...


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