Death penalty in Arizona could start again in 2025, some want sooner – Arizona

(The Center Square) – The death penalty could apply again in Arizona next year, according to a letter from Attorney General Kris Mayes.

The Arizona Republic reported that the state could continue the practice for death row inmates. This comes as Governor Katie Hobbs refused to allow the execution of Aaron Gunches in 2023. Gunches was convicted of killing Ted Price in 2002, according to Newsweek.

The governor launched an independent investigation led by former Judge David Duncan in February 2023 to investigate “mismanaged executions” by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry. In Mayes’ letter, she said she expects Duncan’s review to be completed by then.

“To this end, I intend to begin seeking arrest warrants no later than the first quarter of 2025, as long as ADCRR is able to carry out a lawful execution at that time,” she stated. “By that time, I expect that Judge Duncan will have completed his independent investigation and that ADCRR will have had sufficient time to make appropriate improvements to their procedures for carrying out the death penalty.”

Mayes added that her office “will continue to defend death sentences on appeal” and said she understands that “many family members of victims continue to await closure in these (often decades-old) cases.”

Maricopa County Rachel Mitchell, however, calls the decision to wait until 2025 a delaying tactic, stating in a letter that she “can see no reason why the Department cannot or should not be prepared to proceed” with the execution at this time from Gunches. respond to Mayes.

“Arizona law does not give Governor Hobbs the ability to unilaterally suspend the death penalty,” Mitchell wrote.

“Your promise to begin your work in 2025 is hollow, as former Judge Duncan’s review should have been completed in December 2023. The victims and the community have waited long enough for the execution order process against the Aaron Gunches to begin. matter,” she added.

Her predecessor, former Attorney General Mark Brnovich, accused Mayes of injecting politics into the office on the issue.

“I just wish she cared for victims half as much as she cared for criminals. Unfortunately, she continues to demonstrate that she would rather politicize the office than focus on protecting victims,” Brnovich told The Center Square.

According to ADCRR, executions take place at Arizona State Prison in Florence, and there are currently 112 inmates on death row.