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Arizona ruling OKs consideration of lesser charges

PHOENIX — A new court ruling said Arizona judges can tell trial juries to
consider lesser charges against a defendant even if the defense and prosecution
object.

The unanimous state Supreme Court ruling Thursday upholds a man’s conviction
for manslaughter though he was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting
death of another man after an argument.

The defendant’s lawyers argued in the man’s appeal that he was entitled to an
“all or nothing defense.”

They also said the judge had no power to allow the jury to consider a lesser
charge over objections from prosecutors and the defense.

The Supreme Court said judges should consider objections, but there’s nothing
to bar having the jury consider a lesser charge supported by evidence in the
case.