AZ Supreme Court takes up Baseline Killer's appealPosted: Updated:
Death-row inmate Mark Goudeau may be the most prolific serial killer in Arizona history.
During a marathon 71-day trial in 2007, Goudeau, known as the "Baseline Killer and Rapist" was convicted of nine brutal first-degree murders and dozens of additional charges, including sexual assault and kidnapping, all stemming from a bloody and violent reign of terror that spanned from 2005 to 2006.
Now nearly a decade later, Goudeau's notorious case has made its way to Arizona's Supreme Court where today arguments were presented in what is known as a "direct appeal."
Goudeau received nine death sentences, two life sentences and more than 1,000 years behind bars for the kidnappings, rapes, robberies and ultimate killings perpetrated on his 33 victims.
He was convicted in 2011.
The Supreme Court judges gave lawyers for both sides 40 minutes each to present their arguments.
"All I know is Mark did not commit these crimes," said Goudeau’s wife, Windy Carr, who was in court for today's proceeding. Her husband's attorney, David Goldberg, argued that Goudeau did not get a fair trial.
Goldberg told the five-judge panel that prosecutors piled on charges -- 74 in all. Some had little evidence pointing to Goudeau, according to the attorney.
"You get blinded because you can't sit here and dissect 74 counts and 32 victims and actually look at them objectively," Goldberg told the state Supreme Court. He asked for Goudeau’s conviction be overturned. He also requested Goudeau be retried on the nine murder counts in nine separate trials.
"There was no error here," said prosecutor Jeff Sparks. He argued against this automatic appeal and for the trial court's decision.
A ruling from the state Supreme Court expected at a later date, but for her part, Carr said she will continue to do what she has done for the last decade, and that is stand by her man.
"He didn’t do this," Carr said, "And that's the bottom line."
Goudeau has always maintained his innocence. He has claimed he was framed and wrongly convicted.
[RESOURCE: Oral argument case summary (PDF file)]
During the crime spree, Phoenix police spent thousands of hours patrolling and following up on hundreds of tips during the summer of 2006.
At the time of his trial, Goudeau was already serving a 438-year prison sentence after being convicted in 2007 of 19 counts in a 2005 attack. In that case, police say he raped a woman while pointing a gun at her sister's belly.
According to the oral argument case summary prepared by the Arizona Supreme Court Staff Attorneys' Office, there are a number of issues on the table.
1. Did a third search of Goudeau’s home pursuant to a search warrant issued a month after his arrest violate the Fourth Amendment?
2. Was Goudeau deprived of his constitutional rights to confrontation and due process when the trial court authorized the State to consume DNA samples without imposing various conditions he requested?
3. Did the trial court fundamentally err in allowing the joinder for trial of all 74 crimes charged in the indictment and denying Goudeau’s motion to sever the counts?
4. Did the trial court violate Goudeau’s constitutional right to conflict-free counsel by inadequately addressing his complaints about his appointed defense lawyers and not sua sponte substituting counsel?
5. Did the trial court abuse its discretion or deprive Goudeau of a fundamentally fair trial by permitting the parties to make 13 opening statements during trial, one before evidence was presented on each specific set of crimes?
6. Did the trial court abuse its discretion or deprive Goudeau of a fundamentally fair trial by allowing the State to present other acts evidence under Arizona Rule of Evidence 404(b) and (c)?
7. Did the trial court abuse its discretion or deprive Goudeau of a fundamentally fair trial by allowing seven victims to identify Goudeau at trial and permitting another victim to identify his voice in a pretrial voice lineup?
8. Did the trial court abuse its discretion or violate Goudeau’s constitutional rights to due process, confrontation, or a fundamentally fair trial by admitting the State’s ballistics expert’s opinion testimony regarding toolmark identification without conducting a Frye hearing, and did the court fundamentally err in not excluding part of the expert’s testimony as hearsay?
9. Did the trial court abuse its discretion by admitting an autopsy photograph?
10. Did the trial court abuse its discretion or violate Goudeau’s constitutional right to present a complete defense by precluding one of Goudeau’s third-party culpability defenses?
11. Did substantial evidence support Goudeau’s guilt-phase convictions on Counts 19-28, 40, 46, and 67-71?
12. Did the jury abuse its discretion by finding as an aggravating circumstance under A.R.S. § 13–751(F)(6) that eight of the nine murders were “especially cruel?
13. Did the trial prosecutors engage in misconduct in their opening statements or closing arguments, resulting in fundamental error in this case?
14. Did the trial court fundamentally err in allowing the jury to use the same predicate felony conviction for felony murder to also establish an aggravating factor, allowing the use of contemporaneous felony convictions to prove aggravating factors, or failing to instruct the jury that it could not consider the same fact to prove multiple aggravating factors? Is A.R.S. § 13-751(F)(2)’s contemporaneous prior conviction provision unconstitutional?
15. Did the trial court fundamentally err in the penalty phase by allowing the State to introduce transcripts from interviews with Goudeau’s family members and from his 2004 parole hearing to rebut mitigation and Goudeau’s statements during allocution?
16. Did Goudeau knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive mitigation, and if so do the Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments preclude capital case defendants from doing so?
17. Did the jury abuse its discretion by finding that any mitigation was not sufficiently substantial to call for leniency and that death sentences are appropriate for all nine murders?
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