Goddard v. Superior Court

In Goddard v. Superior Court, 191 Ariz. 402, 956 P.2d 529 (App. 1998), the Court rejected the contention that subsection G of 13-901.01 sets forth the only combination of nonviolent prior convictions that disqualifies a defendant from mandatory probation for a current conviction for personal possession or use of dangerous drugs. To determine how a different combination, not specified within the statute, affected a defendant's probation eligibility, we did not take statutory silence as conclusive; instead, we found it necessary to "interpret the statute by reference to its stated purpose and by reference to the system of related statutes of which it forms a part." Id. at 404, P 8, 956 P.2d at 531. Goddard, convicted of personal possession for use, had two prior convictions for possession for sale. He argued that, because his type of prior conviction was not listed as disqualifying within subsection G, he was entitled to mandatory probation under 13-901.01. The court, however, finding it incongruous that a defendant would be rendered ineligible for mandatory probation by two prior convictions for personal possession for use but not by the more severe criminal record of two prior convictions for possession for sale, "declined to interpret the statute in a manner so contrary to common sense." Id. Instead, the Court concluded that two prior convictions for possession for sale must also disqualify a current use offender from mandatory probation under 13-901.01. Id. at 405, P 14, 956 P.2d at 532. The Court also stated in Goddard that the impact of any prior conviction not expressly listed in 13-901.01 must be determined by "the sentencing judge pursuant to the discretion accorded elsewhere in the criminal code." Id. at 405, P 13, 956 P.2d at 532.