Arizona Upholds Victims’ Rights, Which Prevents Defense Counsel from Interviewing the Alleged Victim in a Case

There’s a client that I was representing who was alleged to have caused an accident, where she pulled in front of another vehicle. That vehicle actually flipped over several times. We ended up going to trial. The thing about Arizona is that they have victim’s rights, which means that I was not allowed to interview the alleged victim in this case. I was not allowed to interview the person driving the other vehicle, the one whose vehicle flipped several times. We ended up going to trial.

The first testimony I am able to hear from this alleged victim of the flipped vehicle was on the stand. I got the impression the prosecutor didn’t really interview the alleged victim either because the question was posed to the alleged victim. There’s an accident. You got out of your vehicle. You walked back to the vehicle that caused the accident, and do you see the driver?

A Hung Jury and a Dismissal: Disproving Victim Testimony and Dividing the Jurists

Or do you see the person in court who was the driver of the other vehicle? The alleged victim on the stand pointed to my client and said, “Well, she was the passenger, but I don’t know who the driver was.” The prosecutor looked at me, and I looked at the prosecutor, and neither of us had any idea that that would be the testimony.

The entire case became about, “We don’t know who the driver is, but the witness identified my client as the passenger.” The case resolved with a hung jury; it was a case dismissed. In the end, we did not end up retrying it. My client took responsibility for driving under the influence of alcohol as a regular DUI, but we ended up getting the super extreme DUI dismissed and any allegation that there is any sort of accident. It was a very good plea agreement that’s negotiated. The prosecutor told me that I was the only the second attorney in his entire career to be able to hang a jury. Cases can take odd turns and direction.

By Brian Douglas Sloan

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