Ruling: Consider injuries on case-by-case basis

PHOENIX - The Arizona Supreme Court says juries must decide on a case-by-case basis whether a wounded crime victim's disfigurement is substantial enough to justify convicting the attacker of felony aggravated assault.

The high court issued a unanimous ruling Monday in an appeal in a Pima County case in which a man cut a woman with a knife.

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The ruling says juries need to consider the injury's seriousness, location, duration and visibility to others.

The justices agreed that both a 3-inch cut on a victim's hand and a 2-centimeter-wide puncture wound of her abdomen were substantial enough to be disfigurements.

The Court of Appeals had said the victim's abdomen wound was small and not a substantial disfigurement. The mid-level court would have reduced a felony aggravated assault charge to misdemeanor assault.

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