Judge Upholds Constitutionality Of Arizona's Death Penalty

By Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez
Published: Friday, May 8, 2015 - 5:40pm
Updated: Friday, May 8, 2015 - 8:29pm
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(Photo courtesy of Arizona Department of Corrections)
The death chamber at Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence.

A Maricopa County superior court judge ruled Friday on the constitutionality of Arizona death penalty. Thirty defendants joined a motion to challenge the law to have the death penalty option removed from their cases.

The issue before the court was the increasing number of aggravating factors that are considered by prosecutors when charging suspects in murder cases. An attorney for the state argued Arizona’s capital punishment statute allows for specific circumstance to determine who should be executed.  

A defense attorney for a man facing the death penalty argued the option should be reserved for the worst offenders — and the state statutes do not identify who those are.  Having so many aggravating factors leaves prosecutors with too much discretion. Judge Joseph Kreamer ruled quickly after the arguments.

“I’m troubled by the direction we’ve gone and where we’re at, I am. But my job is to follow what I think is the law, and the law is pretty clear to me that the statute adequately narrows per the Supreme Court and they’re going to have to be the one to say otherwise, not me," Kreamer said as he denied the motion.

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