Why Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes is pausing the death penalty

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Thursday, January 26, 2023 - 12:59pm

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New Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes is pausing executions in Arizona — putting the use of the death penalty on hold until a review of the process is completed.

Last week, Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs issued an executive order to establish a Death Penalty Independent Review Commissioner to do just that. 

Mayes filed to withdraw the only pending death warrant in the state, that of Aaron Brian Gunches. He had filed a request to be executed but he withdrew it early this month. 

Kris Mays and Katie Hobbs
Elect Katie Hobbs campaign
Kris Mayes (right) and Katie Hobbs speak at a press conference on Sept. 24, 2022.

It’s a move that’s been met with praise from many defense attorneys and civil rights advocates — and it has been denounced by victims’ families. 

But Arizona is not the only state examining its practices when it comes to the death penalty. And Gov. Hobbs wants attention turned to identifying problems and finding solutions. 

Attorney General Mayes joined The Show to talk about the decision.

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