State v. Vondohlen

In State v. Vondohlen, 24 Ariz. App. 362, 538 P.2d 1163 (1975), the court dealt with a very similar issue, and resolved an apparent conflict by giving effect to the legislature's intent. The statute at issue in Vondohlen was 13-643, which then provided for the punishment for armed robbery. Subsection B stated in relevant part: Robbery committed by a person armed with a gun or deadly weapon is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, for the first offense, for not less than five years . . . and in no case, . . . shall the person convicted be eligible for suspension or commutation of sentence, probation, pardon or parole until such person has served the minimum sentence imposed. Vondohlen, 24 Ariz. App. at 363, 538 P.2d at 1164. However, the next subsection, C, stated: Any person convicted of robbery armed with a gun or deadly weapon who is placed on probation in accordance with the terms of this section shall upon sentencing, . . . .Id. The defendant argued that the use of the words "armed with a gun . . . who is placed on probation" in subsection C directly conflicted with the language in subsection B prohibiting probation. As such, he argued, the trial court should have considered probation as an alternative when it imposed the sentence. The court disagreed and stated that, in light of the legislature's intent, "the language used, the subject matter, the effects and consequences, and the spirit and purpose of the law," probation was not available. Id.