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State v. Cota

Arizona Supreme Court
956 P.2d 507 (1998)


Facts

Santiago Cota (defendant) and Kevin Loomer (defendant) were talking on a street corner. Cota then walked across the street into a park, handed Ronda Shulark $2 in cash and, in exchange, received a small amount of marijuana. Cota then returned to the street corner and stood with Loomer. Police officers witnessed the entire exchange and arrested Cota and Loomer immediately thereafter. Cota and Loomer were each indicted on one count of the unlawful sale of marijuana and one count of the unlawful transfer of marijuana. At trial, all charges against Loomer were dismissed because of insufficient evidence linking Loomer to a transfer or sale of the marijuana. The trial court also directed a verdict in favor of Cota on the unlawful sale of marijuana count. Consequently, the prosecution argued that Cota was an accomplice of Shulark in the transfer of marijuana. The jury found Cota guilty and he appealed. The court of appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court. The Arizona Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Martone, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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