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COOPERATION

COOPERATION

[This category primarily consists of cases where the defendant argued that his cooperation with police and other law enforcement authorities was a mitigating circumstance. Two cases are included here where the defendant argued it was mitigating that the defendant cooperated with the presentence report writer. As the reader will note, the Court has found cooperation with law enforcement to be a mitigating circumstance on occasion when it has been proven, but it has only found it to be a substantial mitigating circumstance once. See State v. Scott. Where the cooperation is in the best interest of the defendant, the Court has stated that it is not a mitigating circumstance. See State v. Thornton.]

State v. Jordan (Jordan II), 126 Ariz. 283, 614 P.2d 825 (1980)
Cooperation was not found to be a mitigating circumstance. This cooperation consisted of confessing to the police and waiving a hearing on his extradition from Texas to Arizona. This did not amount to a mitigating circumstance. Arizona police became aware of the defendant as a suspect in the murder when the Texas authorities contacted them. The Arizona police were told that a confidential informant had implicated the defendant in the robbery and murder. The Arizona police went to Texas to interview the defendant. The defendant initially denied any knowledge of the murder. He attempted to bargain with the authorities for his confession. At first he wanted pending robbery charges in Texas to be dropped. He later agreed to talk after he was told that certain charges against his girlfriend would be dropped. This confession was not motivated by a desire to help the police. He attempted to use his confession as a bargaining chip with the authorities. These circumstances do not demonstrate a degree of cooperation that mitigates against imposing capital punishment. Similarly, the waiver of an extradition hearing does not create a mitigating circumstance. The defendant has produced no evidence of his motivation, nor has he alleged that extradition would not have occurred without his cooperation.

State v. Bishop (Bishop II), 127 Ariz. 531, 622 P.2d 478 (1981)
The Court did not find cooperation to be a mitigating factor of sufficient weight to justify leniency. This cooperation did not occur until after the defendant's accomplice was arrested. The subsequent cooperation consisted of a confession and a walk through that was videotaped.

State v. Adamson (Adamson II), 136 Ariz. 250, 665 P.2d 972 (1983)
Witnesses testified that the defendant had cooperated with the federal government and state government in criminal investigations. The defendant testified that he was willing to continue this cooperation. The Court considered this in mitigation, but found that it was not sufficiently substantial to call for leniency.

State v. Gerlaugh (Gerlaugh II), 144 Ariz. 449, 698 P.2d 694 (1985)
The only evidence of cooperation with the police is that he confessed to the crimes charged. Given the defendant's lack of remorse and other aggravating circumstances, the trial court acted within its discretion in rejecting this as a substantial mitigating circumstance.

State v. Correll, 148 Ariz. 468, 715 P.2d 721 (1986)
The Court found that Correll's cooperation in the preparation of the presentence report did not call for leniency. It is in the defendant's best interest to cooperate at sentencing and he should not be rewarded for self-serving acts.

State v. Amaya-Ruiz, 166 Ariz. 152, 800 P.2d 1260 (1990)
The defendant argued that his cooperation with law enforcement was a mitigating circumstance, but the record did not support a finding that the defendant cooperated at the time of his arrest. Although he eventually confessed, he had attempted to flee the jurisdiction, asked to be deported to Mexico, and denied committing the offense when originally questioned.

State v. Atwood, 171 Ariz. 576, 832 P.2d 593 (1992)
The defendant voluntarily gave the FBI a statement, hair samples, fingernail scrapings, and permission to search his car. This modest cooperation was not sufficiently substantial to call for leniency.

State v. Spencer, 176 Ariz. 36, 859 P.2d 146 (1993)
The defendant's confession is not a mitigating circumstance. The confession concerned the theft of the car, not the murder, and was offered only after the defendant was confronted with other evidence. This confession was not motivated by any desire to cooperate with the authorities.

State v. Michael Apelt, 176 Ariz. 349, 861 P.2d 634 (1993)
The Court simply noted that it was in the defendant's own best interest to cooperate with the presentence report writer. The Court agreed with the trial court that the defendant had not proven any mitigating factors sufficient to call for leniency or even why some factors should be considered mitigating at all without any further discussion.

State v. West, 176 Ariz. 432, 862 P.2d 192 (1993)
The Court found no merit in the defendant's claim that his cooperation with authorities in waiving extradition was a mitigating circumstance. The trial judge correctly found that the defendant's failure to contest an event that would certainly have occurred without his consent did not create a mitigating circumstance.

State v. Scott, 177 Ariz. 131, 865 P.2d 792 (1993)
The trial court found that the defendant's cooperation with the police was a substantial mitigating circumstance. The Court agreed with this analysis without discussion.

State v. Gallegos (Gallegos I), 178 Ariz. 1, 870 P.2d 1097 (1994)
The Court viewed Gallegos' cooperation with police, after his initial denial of involvement, in connection with his claim that he was remorseful. See also remorse section.

State v. Ross, 180 Ariz. 598, 886 P.2d 1354 (1994)
The Court has previously held that cooperation is in the best interest of the accused and is not a mitigating circumstance. The defendant did not cooperate with the police. He lied to the police about his identity and the circumstances around the victim's death before finally confessing.

State v. Stokley, 182 Ariz. 505, 898 P.2d 454 (1995)
Stokley's cooperation with police followed an initial denial of any knowledge of the victims. He only confessed after hearing that his codefendant had been arrested. This does not constitute a mitigating circumstance in this case.

State v. Roger and Robert Murray, 184 Ariz. 9, 906 P.2d 542 (1995)
Roger argued that he was fully cooperative at the time of his arrest and that he "never pointed his gun [at the officer], even though he was in a position to shoot if he had wanted to." Not murdering an additional person hardly demonstrates cooperation. He was apprehended only after a high speed chase, during which he ran an armed roadblock. His "behavior before and after arrest was not cooperative."

State v. Spears, 184 Ariz. 277, 908 P.2d 1062 (1996)
The defendant waived extradition to Arizona and talked to the police during an interview. However, he denied that he had committed any crimes and denied any relationship with the victim, although he later admitted that they were romantically involved. The trial court properly found that this was not proven.

State v. Miller, 186 Ariz. 314, 921 P.2d 1151 (1996)
Although cooperation with police and admission of guilt can be mitigating, there was no evidence of that here. Miller repeatedly lied, and only inculpated himself when confronted with evidence of his lies. He denied shooting the victim while she was alive despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

State v. Thornton, 187 Ariz. 325, 929 P.2d 676 (1996)
Thornton argued that his cooperation with law enforcement was a mitigating circumstance. But his admission of guilt after he was stopped and his offer to admit guilt in exchange for the state withdrawing the request for the death penalty furthered his own interest. Cooperation that is in the best interest of the accused is not a mitigating circumstance.

State v. Mann, 188 Ariz. 220, 934 P.2d 784 (1997)
The defendant argued that the trial court did not properly consider the fact that he did not flee, thus showing his cooperation with the authorities. The Court found this argument to be almost frivolous given that the defendant obstructed the investigation from the time of the crime until the time of his arrest four years later.

State v. Chad Lee (Reynolds, Lacey murders), 189 Ariz. 590, 944 P.2d 1204 (1997)
The Court agreed with the trial court that the defendant's cooperation with law enforcement officials and assistance in the recovery of weapons was a mitigating circumstance without any discussion. The Court further found that this was not sufficiently substantial to call for leniency.

State v. Chad Lee (Drury murder), 189 Ariz. 608, 944 P.2d 1222 (1997)
The Court found the fact that the defendant responded to police questioning was an insignificant mitigating circumstance.

State v. Schackart, 190 Ariz. 238, 947 P.2d 315 (1997)
Although the defendant spoke with the police immediately after the murder, he later retracted those portions of the statement concerning the sexual assault. The Court found that this retraction minimized the positive effect of any cooperation.

*State v. Trostle, 191 Ariz. 4, 951 P.2d 869 (1997)
The trial court considered Trostle's cooperation with police as a nonstatutory mitigating circumstance. The Court agreed that this mitigating circumstance was proven by a preponderance of the evidence

State v. Doerr, 193 Ariz. 56, 969 P.2d 1168 (1998)
The defendant called the police, gave them directions and waited at his apartment. He answered their questions and allowed them to take physical samples. He pointed out the location of the victim's purse and car. The trial judge found that the defendant was motivated by self-interest and that this "cooperation" did not constitute a mitigating circumstance. The Court found that the defendant easily could have called the police out of self-interest or from a lack of alternatives. The defendant denied knowing the victim or any of the events leading up to her death. If such cooperation counts as a mitigating circumstance, it carries little weight.

State v. Todd Lee Smith, 193 Ariz. 452, 974 P.2d 431 (1999)
The trial court found that Smith proved by a preponderance of the evidence his cooperation with law enforcement, which was a mitigating circumstance. The Court agreed with the trial court's findings and concluded that the mitigating circumstances in this case, individually and collectively, were not sufficiently substantial to call for leniency.

State v. Murdaugh, 209 Ariz. 19, 97 P.3d 844 (2004) (Ring)
Not much weight given.  Murdaugh voluntarily agreed to answer questions when approached by a detective at the hospital where he was being treated for an injury.  But before he answered any questions, he first asked whether his garage had been cleaned. The garage had been where the murder occurred, and the victim’s blood had been splashed all over the floor.  When the detective responded that it had not, Murdaugh replied that they “had enough to do [him] in.”  He then described the events of the murder, drew a map, and led authorities to the body.  Because the cooperation came only after Murdaugh learned that there was enough physical evidence to point the finger of guilt at him, this factor was given very little weight.

State v. (Frank Winfield) Anderson, 210 Ariz. 327, 111P.3d 639 ( 2005) Jury Trial/Indep. Review
Anderson’s cooperation with the police was “limited” and could not be viewed as “substantial mitigation.”  He was interviewed three times by the police; at first he denied any involvement and by the third interview, he confessed his participation in the crimes.

State v. Boggs, Steve, 218 Ariz. 325, 185 P.3d 111 (2008)(Death Penalty Upheld) Jury Sentencing/Indep. Review
Cooperating with police to apprehend the accomplice was of minimal weight because Defendant initially blamed all the crimes on the accomplice and may have been acting out of self interest.  ¶92-93. 

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