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On appeal the defendant challenged the use of his prior conviction for first-degree burglary to support aggravating circumstances of prior violent felony in a continuing threat. He contended that there was no threat or use of violence in his prior conviction in the trial court erred in admitting the evidence without person holding a hearing. The defendant argued that had a proper hearing been held, the evidence would been excluded from the jury.
The aggravating circumstance of prior violent felonies provides that the defendant was previously convicted of a felony involving the use or threat of violence to a person. The state is required to go beyond simple proof that a defendant in a capital case had prior felony convictions to establish the aggravating circumstance. State must also prove that the prior felonies involve the use of or threat of violence to a person. When an aggravating factor is alleged, and in camera hearing should be held in order to determine whether the prior crime actually involve the threat or use of violence. And charged with a crime, you want the best Tulsa criminal defense attorney.
After and in camera hearing where there is a finding by the trial court that the prior felony did involve the threat or use of violence, the defendant must be given the opportunity to personally stipulate that the prior conviction involve the use or threat of violence. The defendant does not have the right to so stipulate if the prior conviction is also used to support the aggravating circumstance of continuing threat. When the state alleges both of these activators, the juries entitled to have before all possible relevant information about the individual’s fate it must determine.
The wrecker revealed that the defendant broke into a home around 3 AM by twisting the locked doorknob. He stole personal property, cash, credit cards, and personal identification. The investigating officers testified that the defendant was not cooperative with them and that he resisted arrest. The defendant also told officers that he was 19 years old when he was actually 25. He was also found to be in possession of pliers.
The homeowner testified that he was unaware of the burglary at the time it occurred. He said that he was awakened by police officers shouting at him to come outside with his hands up. When the homeowner responded. He was told by officers that a burglary suspect might be inside his home. The defendant was located in the homeowners backyard and taken into custody. This evidence shows that the crime did not involve the use of violence or threat of violence to the homeowner or his family. Consequently, the evidence should not have been amended to support the prior violent felony later.
Evidence of the burglary was admissible for different purpose however. That purpose was to support the continuing threat aggravate her. To support the continuing threat aggravate her what’s essential is that the jury have before all possible relevant information about the individual defendant.
Tulsa criminal defense attorney Stephen Cale said that this relevant information may include evidence from the crime itself, evidence of other crimes, admissions by the defendant concerning and adjudicated offenses, or any other relevant evidence.
The defendant argued that a first-degree burglary conviction does not normally demonstrate a continuing threat of violence. In one appellate case the court stated that while a prior burglary conviction would not usually indicate the existence of a probability that the defendant would commit future criminal acts of violence, it did so in the present case. The defendant did not have a large number of guns or knives. The appellate court has found that a first-degree burglary always carries with it the likelihood for violent encounters with the occupant, it further found that is likely a situation which the jury must determine when it considers future dangerousness.
The defendants force entry into an occupied home during the early morning hours carried with it the likelihood for violent encounter. Therefore it was sufficient to show that the defendant would commit future criminal acts of violence that constitute a continuing threat to society. The appellate court then looked at the defendant’s. It pays to look for the best Tulsa criminal defense attorney.
The defendant argued that the mission of his juvenile offensive first-degree robbery violated his constitutional rights. The appellate court rejected this argument. He then challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the prior violent felony aggravating circumstance. The appellate court also rejected this argument.
With respect to his conviction for robbery with firearms, the defendant was shown to have walked into a gas station, carrying a paper sack in the shotgun. The defendant point the shotgun at the store owner and ordered her to fill the sack with money. The owner complied in the defendant ran out of the store. When reviewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the appellate court found this evidence sufficient to support the jury’s finding of prior violent felony beyond a reasonable doubt.
The defendant next argued that the evidence was insufficient proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim’s murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, the appellate court reviewed the record to determine whether the evidence, considered in the light most favorable to the state, was sufficient for a rational trier of fact to find the aggravating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt. A murder is especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel where the evidence shows two things. First, the evidence must show that the murder was preceded by either torture of the victim or serious physical abuse. Secondly, the evidence but show that the facts and circumstances of the case establish that the murder was heinous, atrocious, or cruel.
The term torture means the infliction of either great physical anguish or extreme mental cruelty. A finding have serious physical abuse or great physical anguish requires that the victim must have experience conscious physical suffering prior to death. The term heinous means extremely wicked or shockingly evil. The term atrocious means outrageously wicked and vile. Lastly, the term cruel means pitiless, designed to inflict a high degree of pain, or utter indifference to or enjoyment of the suffering of others.
So, if you’re looking for the best Tulsa criminal defense attorney to fight for you, make the right choice. Call the Cale Law Office at 918-277-4800. Free initial consultation.