U.S. Supreme Court Warns Arizona Capital Murder Statute Is Too Broad

By Holliday Moore
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 9:42am
Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 11:23am
(Photo courtesy of Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States)
U.S. Supreme Court justices.

The U.S. Supreme Court won't take action against Arizona's death penalty laws, although several justices call the statutes overly broad.

Without comment on Monday the justices looked past death penalty prisoner Abel Hidalgo's claim that his sentence was too broad in a murder-for hire conviction, where he was also found guilty of killing an unexpected bystander.

But, four of the nine Supreme Court justices agreed Arizona's death penalty laws need a closer look going forward, specifically because the state allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty in nearly every case.

The court told Hidalgo he had no legal position to challenge his sentence considering contract murders are pre-meditated.

However, the court predicted Arizona will have future problems in capital murder cases if it continues to ignore constitutional law requiring states narrow which cases merit death penalties.

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