PHOENIX — The state Supreme Court says Arizona law entitles criminal defendants to say they acted in self-defense and simultaneously deny involvement in an act of violence.
The justices’ unanimous ruling Tuesday reverses decades of legal precedent in state court rulings while overturning a man’s convictions in a double-fatal Tucson shooting and ordering a new trial.
Antajuan Stewart Carson Jr. was convicted of second-degree murder and other crimes in the fatal shootings of two men and the wounding of a third outside a 2013 house party.
Carson denied he shot the men and a judge refused to let him also claim self-defense.
The Supreme Court’s ruling says the Legislature in 2006 changed state law to say that prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant did not act without justification.