Internal Legal Memorandum of Law
TO: Chief Prosecuting Attorney
DATE: December 4, 2010
RE: Charging Bob and Susan Tuttle of Negligent Supervision Question Presented
Did Joseph Haney effectively simulate a deadly weapon and create a life-threatening environment, sufficient to satisfy the Arizona armed robbery statute, by thrusting his hand into a pocket and telling the store clerk that it was a "holdup" and to "[l]ie still if you want to live," when the victim was unsure whether Haney had such a weapon, when Haney used both hands to grab money from the cash register, and when the only objects found in Haney's possession were the stolen cash and a package of mints? Brief Answer
No. Mere words and threats to use a deadly weapon are insufficient to support such a charge, because under Arizona law, the victim must reasonably perceive that the robber is armed with a deadly weapon, even if the robber is merely simulating the presence of the weapon. The ambiguity of Haney's actions and the fact that Haney's victim did not perceive that he was armed do not satisfy the requirements of the Arizona armed robbery statute. Statement of Facts
This office is considering whether to prosecute Joseph Haney for armed robbery. Haney was arrested on August 12, 2007, for robbing Albert's Quik-Stop, a convenience store in Tempe. According to the store clerk, Richard Lopez, Haney entered the store at approximately 10:30 p.m. No other customers were in the store. Haney, who was visibly nervous, approached Lopez, thrust his right hand into the pocket of his windbreaker, and shouted, "Can't you tell this is a holdup? Give me the money in the register, man! Don't make me hurt you!" Lopez stated he was unsure whether Haney had a weapon in the pocket. He described Haney as being large and muscular, and he said that Haney's physical size persuaded him to cooperate by opening the register. When Lopez did so, Haney...