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Can a case go to a jury trial without evidence? (AZ)

Parker, AZ |

My boyfriend is in jail right now for possession for sale and transport. I've gone to his past hearings and his lawyer is stating that the state has no evidence (which they don't, being that they have not had any luck finding evidence since May). The judge set the matter to be settled by a jury, but there is no evidence to be presented. How does this work? And is 150 days really considered a "speedy trial"? He has another pre-trial conference in August. His lawyer says that if no evidence is found by the time of the jury trial (October) than the case can be dismissed, but can this happen sooner?

And his attorney has filed a notion to dismiss, but the state has not replied and is not finding evidence either. Instead they are making sentencing offers.

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

My guess is that the lack of evidence is in regard to the "for sale" allegation. If there wasn't any evidence of a crime or your boyfriend's involvement then his defense attorney could have filed a notion to dismiss.

Attorney David Kephart is an experienced Criminal Defense Trial Attorney and Jury Consultant. He is the recipient of the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice President's Award and the recipient of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers Commendation for Excellence in Trial Advocacy. His response to your question is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, does not create an attorney/client relationship, and does not create a right to continuing email exchanges.

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Posted

He has filed a notion to dismiss but has not had a reply from the state.

Posted

The phrase 'the state has no evidence' has to be taken with a little circumspection.

It is a phase that is used so frequently in legal circles, on TV and in movies--it's often repeated by defense attorneys to mean the states case is weak--it most often does NOT mean they have zero evidence--dollars to donuts the state has some evidence of something, that's why your BF is in jail, the issue will be if that evidence is sufficient to convince a jury of his guilt.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. His answers to any Avvo question are rooted in general legal principles--NOT your specific state laws. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.

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Posted

Without knowing the full facts of your case, it is very difficult to give your boyfriend´s case an evaluation. It sometimes is a common expression for an attorney or party in a criminal case to say that there is ¨no evidence¨ in a case. Such a statement is usually an exaggeration or hyperbole to express the opinion that the State or the prosecution may have a difficult time to meet their standard of proof at a criminal jury trial. With the legal standard being ¨beyond a reasonable doubt.¨
There are many different standards of proof that must be satisfied during the criminal process. An officer during an initial arrest must have ¨probable cause¨ to make an arrest and a grand jury or magistrate must also make the same determination before a case is transferred to the Superior Court. These determinations must be based on testimonial evidence for a case to proceed. The evidence may not be great but a basis usually exist for the proceedings to go forward long before the trial phase in a proceeding.
Under Rule 8 of the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure a speedy trial for a defendant in custody must be held within 150 days of arraignment or 180 for a defendant out of custody. If a case is deemed to be a complex case, the trial date may be further delayed if the court makes that designation. Typical drug cases are not usually deemed to be complex cases.

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Posted

There is some evidence. The question is whether it is sufficient to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. If the case is as weak as your boyfriend is asserting, he should win at trial. Questions should be directed to your boyfriends attorney. Without the facts it's really impossible to answer this question.

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I agree with all of the other lawyers. In cases such as these, often the government will obtain the recordings of the defendant's telephone calls from the jail and find a treasure trove of incriminating statements, which in turn, becomes evidence against the defendant. Typically the "evidence" in a case like this will also be things like scales, ledgers, cash, and multiple cell phones in the defendant's possession when he was found with the drugs, under the theory that only a drug dealer has those items with drugs.

NONE OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED HERE IS MEANT AS, NOR INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. THE LAW IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING AND INFORMATION DISCUSSED IN THIS BLOG CAN BECOME OUT-DATED WITH THE PASSAGE OF TIME. IF YOU HAVE A LEGAL ISSUE AND NEED LEGAL ADVICE, CALL 623-936-1901 FOR A CONFIDENTIAL LEGAL CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY.

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