State Court of Appeals ruling denies appeal based on miniature bat used in assault

A court ruling says Arizona’s law making it a crime to commit aggravated assault isn’t unconstitutionally vague, as claimed by a man convicted of using a miniature souvenir baseball to hit a man.

The Arizona Court of Appeals’ ruling on Tuesday upheld Gordon Francisco’s conviction for a 2018 unprovoked attack on another man in a Tempe park. The attack left the man with a gash above one eye. when he was struck with an 18-inch (0.5-meter) wooden bat that weighed less than 8 ounces (0.2 kilograms).

Francisco’s appeal argued that the law’s definition of “dangerous instrument” could sweep in numerous household items and made the law unconstitutionally vague by allowing discriminatory and arbitrary enforcement.

However, the appellate court said the miniature bat or anything else that could be used to cause death or serious physical injury can be considered a dangerous instrument under the law and that a law’s broad reach doesn’t mean its unconstitutionally vague.

Francisco didn’t appeal a related aggravated assault conviction that he got for spitting on a police officer during the incident. He had previous felony convictions, and is serving prison terms totaling 11.25 years.