State v. Ovind

In State v. Ovind, 186 Ariz. 475, 478, 924 P.2d 479, 482 (App.1996) the Court acknowledged that, "unlike the sentences for other crimes, the statute relating to first degree murder does not describe any sentence as the 'presumptive' one." Nevertheless, the court found that a prison term of life with the possibility of parole is tantamount to the presumptive prison term under 13-703. But the court was constrained to find one of the two prison options to be the presumptive term because the defendant had been found guilty but insane pursuant to A.R.S. 13-502; consequently, the trial court had been required to commit the defendant to a secure mental health facility for the "presumptive" term for the offense pursuant to A.R.S. 13-3994. The Court concluded, in that context, that 13-703 was "ambiguous, probably the result of an oversight in drafting." Ovind, 186 Ariz. 15 478, 924 P.2d at 482. But, the court added, this did not require that the commitment order be vacated. As the court stated, "instead, we apply the rule of lenity and impose the least onerous commitment to which the statute exposes the Defendant." Id.