Is Arizona's Death Penalty Law Constitutional?

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 11:34am
Updated: Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 3:47pm

(Photo courtesy of Arizona Department of Corrections)
A view from the viewing area outside the injection room in Florence.

A group of 20 former Arizona judges, prosecutors and legal experts are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down our state’s death penalty law.

If the Supreme Court decides to hear the case, Hidalgo v. Arizona, that’s the issue that will be at stake — whether or not the state’s death penalty law is constitutional and should exist at all. The court is expected to decide whether or not to accept the case later this month.

If Arizona’s death penalty law is unconstitutional, would that mean that there would be no death penalty in our state any longer? Not necessarily.

The argument being made is about the state’s capital sentencing scheme. The court would be looking at how aggravating factors are taken into account in applying the death penalty.

For more about about the case, I spoke with Dale Baich, the assistant federal public defender in Arizona and an expert on the death penalty.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the name of the court.

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