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State v. Kaipio

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

January 22, 2019

STATE OF ARIZONA, Petitioner,
v.
THE HONORABLE THOMAS KAIPIO, Commissioner of the SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF ARIZONA, in and for the County of MARICOPA, Respondent Commissioner, CARLOS ESPINOZA-SANUDO, Real Party in Interest.

          Petition for Special Action from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. CR 2018-121030-001 The Honorable Thomas A. Kaipio, Commissioner

          Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Phoenix By E. Catherine Leisch Counsel for Petitioner

          Maricopa County Public Defender's Office, Phoenix By William H. Atkins, III Counsel for Real Party in Interest

          Judge Michael J. Brown delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Presiding Judge James P. Beene and Judge Jennifer M. Perkins joined.

          OPINION

          BROWN, JUDGE

         ¶1 The State challenges the denial of its request that Carlos Espinoza-Sañudo ("Defendant") be held without bond because his presence was secured through issuance of a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum ("Writ"), which granted the State temporary physical custody of Defendant to allow prosecution of his pending criminal charges. For the following reasons, we hold that the respondent commissioner erred in allowing Defendant to post a bond because releasing him from custody conflicted with the express terms of the Writ.

         BACKGROUND

         ¶2 The State arrested Defendant and charged him with three counts of sale or transportation of narcotic drugs and one count of possession of narcotic drugs for sale, all class 2 felonies, after he sold drugs to an undercover detective. Defendant was released after posting a $2, 500 bond, but the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") took him into custody and detained him for removal proceedings.

         ¶3 When Defendant failed to appear at a status conference for his pending criminal charges, the superior court issued a bench warrant. The State then petitioned for the Writ, requesting permission from ICE to transfer physical custody of the Defendant to the county sheriff until final adjudication of the pending criminal charges. The superior court's criminal presiding judge issued the Writ, which directed the Eloy Detention Center Warden or the Maricopa County Sheriff to bring Defendant to the superior court, "keep [him] in custody and available for all court proceedings until final judicial disposition is completed," and then "return [him] to the prison from which custody was obtained . . . within a reasonable time."

         ¶4 ICE honored the Writ and the State took physical custody of Defendant. Despite the terms of the Writ, the commissioner set release conditions, including an $1, 800 bond. The State filed a motion requesting Defendant be held without bond because he would be immediately deported by ICE if released, depriving the State of its opportunity to prosecute him. The State also contended Defendant was merely "on loan" from the federal government and thus "not eligible for bail or any release conditions." The commissioner denied the motion, and the State challenged the decision by filing its petition for special action in this court. In response, Defendant argued in part that the issue was moot because he had accepted a plea offer and was sentenced to a prison term.

         ¶5 Acknowledging mootness, we determined exercising special action jurisdiction was appropriate because the petition raises an important issue, affects the public interest, and is capable of repetition yet evading review. See State v. Valenzuela, 144 Ariz. 43, 44 (1985) (noting the discretion of appellate courts to decide issues that have become moot but pose significant issues that are likely to recur); see also Velazquez v. Myers, 1 CA-SA 17-0298, 2018 WL 326515, at *2, ¶ 8 (Ariz.Ct.App. Jan. 9, 2018) (mem. decision) (addressing whether the superior court was permitted to release a defendant on his own recognizance when he remained in federal custody and "on loan" to the State pursuant to a writ). We issued an order accepting jurisdiction and granting relief, indicating a written decision would follow. We now explain our reasoning for the order.

         DISCUSSION

         ¶6 The State argues the commissioner acted in excess of his legal authority by denying its request to hold Defendant without bond, contending he was required to be held in custody until adjudication was complete because his presence was obtained from ICE pursuant to the Writ. See Ariz. R.P. Spec. Act. 3(b) (listing the questions that may be raised in a special action, including "[w]hether the defendant has proceeded or is threatening to proceed without or in excess of jurisdiction or legal authority"). Defendant counters that the commissioner acted properly because the State failed to establish proof supporting either of the two methods by which a court may properly deny bail under Arizona law. See Simpson v. Miller, 241 Ariz. 341, 348, ¶¶ 23-26 (2017) (explaining a superior court may deny bail (1) based on an individualized determination of a defendant's dangerousness, or (2) where the proof is evident or presumption great that defendant committed a crime presenting an "inherent risk of future dangerousness").

         ¶7 The constitutional framework of the United States allocates sovereignty between federal and state governments. See, e.g., Murphy v. NCAA,138 S.Ct. 1461, 1475-77 (2018). Defendant correctly notes the limited circumstances in which the superior court may deny bail, but this case turns on the legal significance of the Writ, which stems from a longstanding practice permitting both sovereigns "to enforce and ...


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