Stoudamire v. Hon. Simon – 8/1/2006

August 17, 2006

rizona Court of Appeals Division Two Upholds Denial of Jury Trial to Former UA Basketball Star Accused of Possessing Marijuana and Paraphernalia.

Damon Stoudamire was accused in 2003 of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, both class six felonies. The justice court ruled that he was not entitled to a jury trial. Stoudamire sought special action review by the superior court, which accepted jurisdiction but denied relief. On appeal to Division Two of the Arizona Court of Appeals, Stoudamire argued that he was entitled to a jury trial under the Arizona Constitution. The Court of Appeals rejected the claim. Because the charged offenses had no jury-trial-eligible common law antecedent at the time of statehood, and because they were not designated as sufficiently serious crimes by the legislature, the offenses did not trigger the jury trial guarantee under the rule of Derendal v. Griffith, 209 Ariz. 416 (2005). The court concluded that State ex rel. Dean v. Dolny, 161 Ariz. 297 (1989) (finding jury trial right for defendant charged with possession of marijuana) was no longer controlling precedent in light of Derendal. The court, therefore, affirmed the superior court’s denial of Stoudamire’s request for a jury trial.

Judge Howard wrote the opinion for the panel; judges Pelander and Vasquez concurred.