State high court to weigh appeal based on impulsivity issue

National Legal News

The Arizona Supreme Court will consider if judges can allow evidence on whether defendants have brain damage making it more than likely a crime was committed impulsively rather than with premeditation.

The court agreed Tuesday to consider the appeal of Stephen Jay Malone Jr., a Tucson man convicted of first-degree murder and other crimes in the 2013 killing of his wife, 25-year-old Augustina Soto. Her sister was wounded in the same shooting.

A state Court of Appeals July 2018 decision on Malone’s appeal upheld his convictions and said past Supreme Court decisions on admission of impulsivity are “nuanced.”

According to the decision, courts can’t consider evidence that a defendant’s mental disorder short of insanity negates criminal intent but can consider evidence that a character trait for impulsivity didn’t indicate premeditation.

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