What Is a False Reporting Charge ?
A person commits the offense of false reporting by:
(1) knowingly making to a law enforcement agency
(2) a false, fraudulent or unfounded report or statement or a knowing misrepresentation of a fact
(3) for the purpose of interfering with the orderly operation of a law enforcement agency or misleading a peace officer. A.R.S. 13-2907.01(A).
The conduct described by the false reporting statute consists essentially of the communication of a falsehood to a law enforcement agency. the conduct that can constitute hindering prosecution, on the other hand, is of a much greater variety. Examples include hiding another person, warning him of impending discovery, or hiding physical evidence.
None of these acts involves communicating information to a law enforcement agency. Thus, false reporting is not, "by its very nature, always a constituent part" of hindering prosecution. See Brown, 195 Ariz. at 207-08, P 5, 986 P.2d at 240-41.
Because false reporting does not always fit within hindering prosecution using the statutory elements test, we turn to the second test, namely whether false reporting is a lesser-included of hindering prosecution as the latter was charged in this case.
The juvenile court focused on the "deception" aspect of the charge, concluding that false reporting was a lesser-included offense of this type of hindering. We agree that upon a comparison of these allegations with the offense of false reporting, it appears that if one commits hindering by deception, one must necessarily also commit false reporting. at the least, there is sufficient similarity to trigger an analysis.
In beginning this analysis, we first note the principle that for one offense to be included within another, greater offense, the greater must have all the elements of the lesser plus at least one additional element. See State v. Tims, 143 Ariz. 196, 198, 693 P.2d 333, 335 (1985). It is this additional element that permits the greater to house the lesser and gives the greater its inclusive effect, and consequently its name. State v. Woods, 168 Ariz. 543, 545, 815 P.2d 912, 914 (App. 1991).
We are unable to find an element of hindering prosecution by deception that we consider "additional" to the elements of false reporting.
Both require the defendant to knowingly act falsely to another in order to impede the processes of justice. Although one act may violate both statutes, it does not follow that one must be a lesser of the other. If there is no additional element in hindering prosecution by deception, and we conclude that there is not, then false reporting cannot be a lesser-included offense of that crime.
Another relevant principle we must consider is that a lesser-included offense must be composed solely of the elements of the greater. State v. Celaya, 135 Ariz. 248, 251, 660 P.2d 849, 852 (1983); State v. Mitchell, 138 Ariz. 478, 480-81, 675 P.2d 738, 740-41 (App. 1983).
Thus, it is not enough to satisfy the test that the greater offense cannot be committed without necessarily committing the lesser. It must also be shown that the lesser cannot be committed without always satisfying the corresponding elements of the greater. Mitchell, 138 Ariz. at 480-81, 675 P.2d at 740-41.
Mitchell provides an example of this principle. In that case, the defendant argued that first-degree criminal trespass committed by entering a residential yard without authority and looking into the residential structure thereon in reckless disregard of the inhabitant's privacy was a lesser offense of the principal charge of second-degree, or "residential" burglary. 138 Ariz. at 480-81, 675 P.2d at 740-41.
The Mitchell court disagreed, noting that such a burglary was completed without the necessity of showing that the perpetrator looked into the residential structure. Id.
However, this element of "looking in" was necessary for the crime of trespass, meaning that the offense asserted to be the lesser-included in fact had an element not contained in the greater, thereby violating the Celaya rule that the lesser must be composed solely of elements of the greater. Id.
Our case is similar to Mitchell. the crime of false reporting can be committed by an act of deception engaged in either for the benefit of another or for the benefit of the actor.
That is, one can commit false reporting whether the false statement or false representation relates to oneself or relates to another person. Hindering prosecution, on the other hand, is committed only if the act of deception is engaged in for the benefit of another; that is that crime always requires that the statement or representation relate to another person.
The result is that false reporting can be committed without necessarily committing the corresponding elements of hindering prosecution by deception. Thus, the former as a lesser-included of the latter fails the Celaya requirement that the elements of the lesser must be composed solely of the elements of the greater.