Capital punishment in Arizona

August 08, 2012

Two experts discuss the legal process behind capital punishment as well as misconceptions and concerns while handling capital trials.

Former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Paul Charlton and Maricopa County public defender Andrew Clemency both agree that capital cases are the most emotionally grueling and drawn-out cases to be involved in.

Clemency says there’s a misconception about the cost of capital punishment versus the cost of life in prison. He says capital cases can last decades, and the cost of the entire court process is staggering. Clemency also says the idea of the death penalty bringing closure is a fallacy. He says that decades-long litigation can prevent people from moving on, and loved ones are repeatedly reminded of grisly details.

Charlton says you can be a prosecutor and not believe in capital punishment, yet still seek it. He says that prosecutors often reflect on whether the death penalty is appropriate in a larger sense, but at the end of the day they have to honor their oath.

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