Horne Cites Legal Victory for AZ Execution Method

Attorney General Tom Horne says today’s federal court ruling upholding Arizona’s implementation of its execution protocol is affirmation that the State has followed the appropriate Constitutional protections for capital punishment.

In a ruling issued today, U.S. District Court Judge Neil V. Wake denied a request for a permanent injunction that claimed the Arizona execution protocol was a violation of the Constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, citing the lack of evidence. He added: …”the Court concludes that (Department of Corrections) Director (Charles) Ryan is highly cognizant of his responsibilities under the Eighth Amendment…”

“I am exceptionally proud of the work this office has done to defend the Arizona Department of Corrections in the legal battle over the protocol for executions,” Horne said.

He added, “This ruling puts to rest yet another of the specious legal barricades that capital punishment opponents have thrown up in the past few decades to challenge the death penalty. Among those who have done this is the United States Department of Justice, which just six months ago attempted to stop the execution of convicted child-killer Donald Beaty because of the dispute over the importation of the lethal chemicals necessary to lawfully execute condemned inmates. That the Department did so was bad enough. That it used its prosecutorial discretion to do so literally one day before the killer’s scheduled execution was a slap in the face to the family of his victim. We should never forget that those who are condemned to die for their crimes have committed some of the most heinous crimes imaginable. Beaty murdered a 13 year old girl who was collecting for her newspaper route. Other prisoners executed just this year in Arizona include a second child killer, and a man who savagely beat his victim and left him to bleed to death in a closet. And among the executions held up by court delays is a man who tied another man to a chair and tortured him for hours before killing him.”

“The current average delay between conviction and execution in the Ninth U.S. Circuit, which includes Arizona, is a scandalous 18 years. I am confident today’s ruling by judge Wake will put to rest this argument and remove at least one method by which justice might be delayed, “ Horne concluded.

The case was handled by the Attorney General’s Capital Litigation Section, headed by Chief Counsel Kent Cattani.

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