Attorney General Mayes Issues Statement on Maricopa County Attorney's Motion to Seek Death Warrant

PHOENIX – Attorney General Kris Mayes released the following statement in response to a motion filed today by the Maricopa County Attorney seeking a death warrant in the Gunches case:

Only the Attorney General is authorized to seek warrants of execution. Despite what rogue Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell may believe, there is only one Attorney General at a time – and the voters decided who that was 18 months ago. Just three weeks ago, I notified County Attorney Mitchell about my plans for seeking warrants of execution a little over six months from now after the completion of the independent death penalty review. But apparently, conducting this cynical performance to look tough in her competitive re-election primary is more important to the County Attorney than following the law.
Even though she knows what she is doing has no legal merit, County Attorney Mitchell seeks to circumvent the authority of the Attorney General’s office and to use victims as pawns for her own political gain. I have insisted the independent review be finished in a timely manner so that when a warrant is ultimately issued by my office, victims will have certainty that it will be carried out.

The kind of behavior engaged in by the former Attorney General and County Attorney Mitchell in the Gunches matter not only disrespects the legal process but also jeopardizes the working order of our system of justice. Make no mistake, I will vigorously defend the authority of this office – and will not stand by as the Maricopa County Attorney attempts to create chaos to save her political career. My office will next move to strike this motion and prevent County Attorney Mitchell from continuing her unauthorized actions related to the death penalty.