Moral Turpitude Arizona
In Derendal v. Griffith, 209 Ariz. 416, 104 P.3d 147 (2005), the court held that an act of moral turpitude is no longer enough to give a defendant charged with a misdemeanor the right to a jury trial in Arizona, overruling a portion of the court's holding in Rothweiler v. Superior Court, 100 Ariz. 37, 410 P.2d 479 (1966). 209 Ariz. at 424, P32, 104 P.3d at 155.
The Derendal court used a two-part test to determine whether misdemeanor offenses are jury eligible, replacing the three-part Rothweiler test and eliminating the moral quality prong. Id. at 425, PP36-37, 104 P.3d at 156.
Under the Derendal test, the court must first determine whether the statutory offense in question has a historical antecedent that carried a right to jury trial under the common law at the time of statehood. Id. at P36.
If so, the defendant has a right to a jury trial. Id.
If there is no common law antecedent, the court must analyze the seriousness of the offense under Article 2, Section 24 of the Arizona Constitution. 1 Id. at P37.
The Derendal test is a modified version of the bright-line test enunciated by the United States Supreme Court in Blanton v. City of North Las Vegas, 489 U.S. 538, 543, 103 L. Ed. 2d 550, 109 S. Ct. 1289 (1989), which states that any criminal offense for which the maximum statutory penalty is six months or less incarceration is presumptively a petty offense to which the right of trial by jury does not attach.
In Derendal, the Supreme Court held that a misdemeanor offense punishable by no more than six months incarceration is presumptively a petty offense that falls outside state constitutional guarantees of jury trial; but that presumption may be overcome if a defendant can establish that "the offense carries additional severe, direct, uniformly applied, statutory consequences"; and "moral quality" is no longer a factor in determining jury-eligibility of an offense, overruling Rothweiler. Derendal, 209 Ariz. at 424-25, 104 P.3d at 155-56.
In Derendal, the defendant was charged with misdemeanor drag racing, and the trial court denied his request for a jury trial. 209 Ariz. at 417, P2, 104 P.3d at 148.
The Arizona Supreme Court accepted review to determine when the Arizona Constitution mandates that a criminal offense be eligible for a jury trial. Id. at P4.
The court formulated a two-part test to determine whether misdemeanor offenses were jury eligible. Id. at 425, P36, 104 P.3d at 156.
The first inquiry is whether a statutory offense has a common-law antecedent that guaranteed a jury trial at the time of Arizona statehood. Id.
If so, the inquiry ends, and the defendant has established a right to a jury trial. Id.
If not, the court must analyze the seriousness of the offense under Article 2, Section 24 of the Arizona Constitution. Id. at P37.
Under Derendal, a finding that an act is of moral turpitude, as previously set forth in Rothweiler v. Superior Court, 100 Ariz. 37, 42, 410 P.2d 479, 483 (1966), and State v. Harrison, 164 Ariz. 316, 317, 792 P.2d 779, 780 (App. 1990), is no longer enough to afford a jury trial for an offense. Id. at PP36-37.