State v. Roscoe

In State v. Roscoe, 185 Ariz. 68, 69, 912 P.2d 1297, 1298 (1996), the Arizona Supreme Court held unconstitutional a legislative amendment to the Implementation Act precluding on-duty peace officers from qualifying as victims under the Victims' Bill of Rights. 185 Ariz. at 72-73, 912 P.2d at 1301-02. Under the statutory provision at issue in Roscoe, peace officers would not be considered victims if the criminal act that would otherwise have qualified them as "victims" occurred while they were on active duty. Id. at 70, 912 P.2d at 1299. Although the court recognized that the provision carved out a fairly limited exception to the Victims' Bill of Rights, it nevertheless concluded that the provision unconstitutionally controverted the unambiguous definition of "victim" set forth in the Victims' Bill of Rights. Id. at 70-71, 912 P.2d at 1299-1300; Ariz. Const. art. 2, 2.1(C). Noting the principle that where "'a constitutional provision is clear, no judicial construction is required or proper,'" the court explained that the authors of the Victims' Bill of Rights "clearly defined the term victim and just as clearly defined two exceptions to victim status"--persons in custody and the persons accused of the offense. Id. at 71, 912 P.2d 1300 (quoting Pinetop-Lakeside Sanitary Dist. v. Ferguson, 129 Ariz. 300, 302, 630 P.2d 1032, 1034 (1981)); Ariz. Const. art. 2, 2.1(C). Because the provision created an additional category of persons who would be denied victim status, the court concluded that it was unconstitutional. Roscoe, 185 Ariz. at 72, 912 P.2d at 1301.