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Arizona court rules victims can't refuse pretrial talks with prosecutors

An appellate court decision says Arizona's state constitutional protections for crime victims don't prevent prosecutors from conducting pretrial interviews of victims who object.

The  Court of Appeals' rulingTuesday said the Constitution's  Victim's Bill of Rightsallows victims to refuse pretrial interviews with defendants or defense lawyers, but the court said that right of refusal does not extend to interviews or depositions with the prosecution.

The court issued its ruling in a Yavapai County case involving a woman who is awaiting trial on a charge of luring a minor for sexual exploitation after allegedly sending a “suggestive photo" to a boy who was 14 years old at the time.

The boy initially told prosecutors that he and the woman exchanged sexually explicit texts and photos, but he later declined to meet with prosecutors to prepare for his trial testimony. According to the ruling, the boy also said through his attorney that he would characterize certain evidence in a way more favorable to the woman than previously reported.

AP EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been corrected to reflect that the interviews in question would involve victims, not defendants.

Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.