State v. Hall

In State v. Hall, 136 Ariz. 219, 665 P.2d 101 (App. 1983), the defendant had absconded and was tried in absentia. Id. at 221, 665 P.2d at 103. Noting it is "axiomatic that the burden is always on the state to prove all of the elements of the crime and the identity of the person who committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt," Division One of this court observed that "the only evidence produced at trial identifying the appellant as the assailant" was that the man fit a general description and had the same name--John Richard Hall. Id. The court determined, however, that there was sufficient evidence the man arrested was the assailant and thus, "the real question is not whether the evidence was sufficient to convict the John Richard Hall described but whether the John Richard Hall who was sentenced is the same person as the man initially arrested for the crime." Id. In concluding there was "no doubt" the appellant was the man arrested, the court noted: The John Richard Hall who was originally arrested was released on a bond posted by Dorothy Lee Hall, the wife of John Richard Hall, the man ultimately sentenced. William Kiger, counsel appointed for the John Richard Hall who was arrested, also appeared for the John Richard Hall who was sentenced. The judge who heard the description of the perpetrator at trial also saw the man sentenced and presumably the descriptions matched. When the judge asked if there was any legal cause why sentence should not be pronounced counsel for Mr. Hall responded in the negative. The man sentenced never objected to being sentenced or so much as intimated that he would later claim that he was not the person convicted of the crime. Had he done so it would have been incumbent upon the state to demonstrate at that time that the man sentenced was the same person who was initially arrested. Id. at 221-22, 665 P.2d at 103-04.