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March 23, 2023

Arizona Supreme Court refuses to order its Gov to proceed with an execution ... for now

As detailed in some recent prior posts (linked below), a local prosecutor and crime victims had sued the new Gov of Arizona after her pledge not to move forward with a scheduled execution.   Late yesterday, the Arizona Supreme Court, for the time being, refused to order the execution to move forward.  This local article, which includes a link to last night's order from the Arizona court, provides this review:

Gov. Katie Hobbs is not compelled to carry out an execution warrant for death row prisoner Aaron Gunches, according to an order from the Arizona Supreme Court.  The court, in a ruling issued Wednesday, says its role is to “issue a warrant of execution that authorizes the director of the state department of corrections to carry out the execution.”

But the law does not mandate the governor act on the warrant, the court said.... The court acknowledged that the Arizona Constitution provides that the governor “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed," and that the governor is obligated to protect victims' rights to justice and due process, but it said those were "mixed questions of law and fact that are not properly before us."

The court denied the petition, made by Karen Price, sister of the victim, to force the governor to enforce the warrant.  Price, however, could advocate for execution on other grounds....

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office responded to the decision with a statement.  "With this ruling, the court recognizes that the Governor’s actions have constitutional implications, and the Governor has a duty to follow the law. We are assessing next steps to ensure the law is upheld and victims receive justice," the statement said.

Prior recent related posts:

March 23, 2023 at 09:59 AM | Permalink


Hobbs is a criminal-coddling 'rat.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/courts/kennedy-stumps-another-biden-judicial-nominee That's hilarious. When it comes to law, Biden's judicial nominees don't know it.

Posted by: federalist | Mar 23, 2023 10:37:18 AM

Reading between the lines of the Arizona Supreme Court order, it looks like the Court thinks that the plaintiffs took things out of order, and that they were not going to hold an evidentiary hearing on whether the Arizona DOC has the capability to carry out the execution in a constitutional manner. Not exactly sure what the next step in the case is, but it seems like the key points in the order are: 1) the role of the Arizona Supreme Court in issuing a warrant is to determine if all challenges to the conviction are finished; 2) the Arizona DOC has some authority to defer/delay the execution if they are not prepared to carry it out; 3) that authority should not be used to de facto commute capital sentences; and 4) victims have the right to have the execution carried out at the earliest possible date. What that means as far as the type of action that victim's should be able to file and what they need to prove is not clearly spelled out in the order.

Posted by: tmm | Mar 23, 2023 10:45:02 AM

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