State v. Govan

154 Ariz. 611, 744 P.2d 712 (Ct. App. 1987)



A specific objection to a jury instruction on one ground does not preserve an objection to it on any other ground. Furthermore, Ariz. R. Crim. Proc. 22.3 clearly states that both the defendant and prosecutor are entitled to instructions on any offense charged or any lesser-included offense for which there is evidentiary support.


The state charged defendant with aggravated assault for a shooting. During the victim's hospitalization, however, defendant visited her and they were subsequently married. The aggravated assault charge was dismissed without prejudice. Unfortunately, due to her quadriplegia the victim suffered from several ailments and needed constant care. In January, 1985, the victim contracted pneumonia and died. defendant was subsequently charged with second degree murder and convicted of manslaughter. On appeal, the defendant asserted that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a mistrial, by instructing the jury on the lesser-included offense, and failing to grant his motion for judgment of acquittal.


Was the conviction proper?




The court concluded that the trial court did not err in instructing on the offense of manslaughter over the objection by defendant's counsel because defendant's act may well have fallen within the conduct proscribed by Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-1103(A)(1), which stated that a person committed manslaughter by recklessly causing the death of another person. The court explained that it was not error to deny the motion for judgment of acquittal because there was substantial evidence that the gunshot to the victim's neck resulted in her immediate paralysis and quadriplegia. Therefore, defendant's conduct could be regarded as a proximate cause of the victim's death.

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