ARS 13-604(P) Interpretation
In State v. Quinonez, 194 Ariz. 18, 20, P12, 976 P.2d 267, 269 (App. 1999), the defendant requested a jury trial on an allegation of a historical prior felony conviction, and the trial court denied the request under A.R.S. 13-604(P). Id. at 19, P3, 976 P.2d at 268.
The defendant argued that A.R.S. 13-604(P) violated his constitutional right to a jury trial under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution as well as Article 2, Section 24 of the Arizona Constitution. Id. at P4.
The court noted that the defendant had tradition on his side because, from at least 1887 to the 1996 amendment to A.R.S. 13-604(P), Arizona granted a jury trial on an allegation of prior convictions to criminal defendants. Id. at P5.
The court noted that the majority in Armstrong agreed that the state constitutional provision guaranteeing the right to a jury trial was violated where a trial judge refused a defendant's request for a jury trial on an allegation of a prior conviction. Id. at P6.
Although Armstrong's reference to the constitution seemed to support the defendant's argument, Quinonez noted that the reference is dictum because in Armstrong the defendant admitted the prior conviction. Id.
The Quinonez court noted that more recent cases dispelled any notion that a constitutional right to a jury trial exists on an allegation of a prior conviction. Id. at 19-20, P6, 976 P.2d at 268-69.