Sunday, November 17, 2013

State v. Sety case brief

State v. Sety case brief summary
590 P.2d 470 (1979)

Defendant appealed his conviction by the Superior Court of Maricopa County (Arizona) for voluntary manslaughter. He also appealed his sentence of not less than nine or more than ten years imprisonment. He argued that the trial court should have directed an acquittal and that the sentence was excessive. The State appealed the trial court's reduction of his conviction from second-degree murder to voluntary manslaughter.

The State argued that the trial court abused its discretion in reducing the conviction.


  • The court disagreed and affirmed the conviction. 
  • It modified the sentence, reducing it to time already served. 
  • The victim approached defendant when he was camping. He talked about weapons and began shooting and pointing a rifle at defendant. 
  • After an unusual series of events, defendant testified that while he was taking the victim to the dam keeper's home under a citizen's arrest, he shot the victim. 
  • He claimed that the wounds were in self-defense or justified. 
  • The court found various discrepancies between defendant's version and the physical evidence. 
  • The evidence showed that the gun was fired several times at close range at the victim's head and showed circumstances that did not justify the use of deadly force. 
  • The court found sufficient evidence of criminal culpability. 
  • The trial court properly reduced the conviction to manslaughter when there was evidence of mitigating circumstances, due to the bizarre circumstances. 
  • The court considered the circumstances and defendant's moral character. 
  • It determined that under Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-1717(B) the sentence was excessive.

The court affirmed the conviction. It modified the sentence, reducing it to the time that defendant already had served.

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