State v. Ramirez

In State v. Ramirez, 190 Ariz. 65, 72, 945 P.2d 376, 383 (App. 1997) the Court concluded that an act cannot be "both impulsive and premeditated" and that "defining premeditation as a length of time (which can be instantaneous as successive thoughts in the mind) obliterates any meaningful distinction between first and second degree murder--other than the penalties." 190 Ariz. at 68, 69, 945 P.2d at 379, 380. To maintain the distinction, the court construed the statutory definition of premeditation to require "actual reflection." Id. at 69, 70, 945 P.2d at 380, 381. The court further noted that a jury instruction stating that reflection may occur as quickly as successive thoughts must be balanced by the "instant effect" language of the last sentence in former 13-1101(1): "An act is not done with premeditation if it is the instant effect of a sudden quarrel or heat of passion." Id. at 68, 71, 945 P.2d at 379, 382.