PHOENIX - Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich lauded today's decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, affirming the decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona that the scheduled June 8 execution of Frank Atwood tomorrow by lethal injection does not violate his constitutional rights. It further denied Atwood’s motions for stay of execution on the same basis.
Atwood mounted an 11th-hour challenge based on several constitutional claims - all of which the District Court rejected after affording Atwood a full evidentiary hearing late last week.
The Ninth Circuit (1) refused to disturb the District Court’s finding that the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry's (ADCRR) accommodations for Atwood’s degenerative spinal disease preclude a finding that their lethal injection protocol creates a substantial risk of severe pain; (2) held there was insufficient evidence that Atwood’s due process rights were violated; and (3) held that Atwood lacks standing to challenge Defendants’ protocol for execution by lethal gas, given that ADCRR will execute Atwood by lethal injection.
"Capital punishment is the appropriate response to those who commit the most shocking and vile murders because it ensures the last word still belongs to the innocent victims who can no longer speak for themselves," said Arizona Attorney General, Mark Brnovich. He further stated, “I am very proud of the hard work that our legal team has put in to make sure that justice is done in this case from our trial prosecutors to our appellate division to make sure that this execution is carried out and justice is served.”
Atwood has been afforded an extraordinary amount of legal process over the decades since he murdered 8-year-old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson. The final steps for Atwood are to ask the Supreme Court of the United States to enter a last-minute stay.
The Attorney General’s Office will continue to vigorously defend all claims and seek that this sentence be carried out.
Copy of Ninth Circuit Decision