Pointing An Unloaded Gun at Someone
Does the phrase "a substantial threat of death or physical injury" includes pointing an unloaded gun at another person ?
"To determine legislative intent, we consider the statute's context, the language used, the subject matter, the historical background, the statute's effects and consequences, and the statute's spirit and purpose." State v. Korzep, 165 Ariz. 490, 493, 799 P.2d 831, 834 (1990).
We look first to the statute's words and give them ordinary meanings unless the context or a statutory definition dictates otherwise. Id.
We also construe statutory provisions "in light of their place in the statutory scheme," State v. Wilhite, 160 Ariz. 228, 230, 772 P.2d 582, 584 (App. 1989), so "they may be harmonious and consistent." State ex rel. Larson v. Farley, 106 Ariz. 119, 122, 471 P.2d 731, 734 (1970).
The legislature has not provided a definition for the word "threat." Accordingly, we determine its ordinary meaning from established, widely respected dictionaries. Sierra Tucson, Inc. v. Pima County, 178 Ariz. 215, 871 P.2d 762 (App. 1994). Webster's Third New International Dictionary 2382 (1971) defines "threat" as "an indication of something impending and usually undesirable or unpleasant."
Similarly, "threat" is defined in Black's Law Dictionary 1490 (7th ed. 1999) as an "indication of an approaching menace." "Indication" means "something (as a signal, sign, suggestion) that serves to indicate." Webster's at 1150.
And we find this definition for "threat" in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 1228 (10th ed. 1995): "An expression of intention to inflict evil, injury, or damage." Intention can, of course, be expressed by words, gestures, or actions. See id. at 410.
From these dictionary definitions, it can be concluded that the ordinary meaning of "threat" includes both actual and apparent harm or injury and would adopt that meaning in construing the disputed phrase in 13-502(D).
In State v. Morgan, 128 Ariz. 362, 367, 625 P.2d 951, 956 (App. 1981), this court limited the statute's application to conduct that places the victim in "actual substantial risk" of death or physical injury.
Limitation in State v. Doss, 192 Ariz. 408, 966 P.2d 1012 (App. 1998), holding that a jury must be instructed that endangerment requires proof that the defendant's conduct did, in fact, create a substantial risk of the victim's imminent death or physical injury.