Arizona’s first Democratic governor in more than a decade took no time to prove she was a Democrat in every way by suspending executions in the state, sparing more than 100 death row murderers, including the man who kidnapped and brutalized killed his girlfriend’s ex-husband. .
Gov. Katie Hobbs, who won the controversial race against the Republican challenger Kari Lakeordered a postponement on Friday “due to the state’s mismanagement of executions”, according to Associated Press.
In the decree, Hobbs did not formally declare a moratorium on executions. However, it has appointed a commissioner to oversee consideration of how death sentence is being implemented — and the state’s new Democratic Attorney General, Chris Mays, has said she will not seek court orders to execute prisoners while the review is underway.
“With the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Return now under new leadership, it’s time to address the fact that this system needs better oversight on many fronts,” Hobbs told reporters.
order clarifies the remit of the commissioner, who will review, among other things, “the ADCRR procedures and protocols for execution by gas chamber and lethal injection, including, but not limited to, the establishment of lethal injection lines, transparency and access to the media, prisoner access to a lawyer.”
The Commissioner, who has not yet been named, will report to the Governor on ways to improve the death penalty process.
According to Death Penalty Information CenterIn Arizona, there are two methods of executing death row inmates: the gas chamber or lethal injection. Since the approval of lethal injection by voters in 1992, prisoners have been able to choose the method by which they are executed.
A botched execution in 2014 and difficulty obtaining the drugs needed to carry out lethal injections delayed the execution by eight years.
However, in 2020, Arizona announced that it had found a pharmacist who supplies the drugs needed, and in the spring of 2021, the state announced that it had finally received a supply of drugs.
Do you think the death penalty should be used as a punishment?
Yes: 100% (4 votes)
No: 0% (0 votes)
However, three executions carried out under the former governor. Doug Ducey not without controversy.
“After the resumption of executions, the state came under fire for taking too long to put an IV into a convicted prisoner’s body in early May and for declining a request from the Arizona Republic newspaper to witness the last three executions,” AP reported.
The report says 110 prisoners are currently on the state’s death row. Republic of Arizona published a list of them last year, along with pictures of them and descriptions of their horrific crimes.
Take, for example, Joseph Clarence Smith Jr. It states that he was “convicted of the 1975 murder of two teenage girls he picked up while hitchhiking in Maricopa County. Both teenagers died of asphyxiation after Smith stuffed their mouths and nostrils with dirt and sealed them with duct tape. He also stabbed each girl several times.”
Or Preston Strong. The Republic reports that he was “convicted in 2017 for the 2005 murder of his best friend Luis Ríos; Rios’ girlfriend, Adrienne Heredia; and Heredia’s four children, Andreas Crawford, 13, Enrique Bedoya, 12, Ines Newman, 9, and Danny Heredia III, 6. He strangled four victims for hours and shot his best friend and youngest boy.”
The list of things that cause stomach churning goes on and on.
The first to be spared by the Hobbs pause is likely to be 51-year-old Aaron Brian Ganches, in whose case an execution warrant was issued last year.
According to KNXV-TVhe “was sentenced to death in 2008 after pleading guilty to the kidnapping and murder of his girlfriend’s ex-husband, Ted Price.”
“The gunches also shot at [state Department of Public Safety] soldier twice after being pulled over near the California border, in which Ganches pleaded guilty to attempted murder,” the report said.
“The bullets used in the incident with the DPS fighter are said to match the shell casings found near Price’s body.”
Attorney General Mays granted his request, sparing him for the time being.
“The administration of my predecessor requested a warrant for the execution of Mr. Ganches after he initiated proceedings himself. Now these circumstances have changed. However, this is not the only reason why I am now asking for the withdrawal of the previous proposal,” Mayes said.
“A thorough review of Arizona’s protocols and processes governing the death penalty is needed. I applaud Governor Hobbs for appointing the Independent Death Penalty Review Commissioner to begin this process.”
Of course, this raises the question of whether the viewing ordered by Hobbs is nothing more than a less controversial way to hit the stop button on death sentence in a state that still tends to blush despite recent Republican losses.
On Friday, the new governor was asked how she felt about the death penalty, and she declined to answer.
In other states – and at the federal level – Democrats, who are less shaky with voters on the death penalty issue, have made their intentions to abolish or reduce the death penalty more clear.
President Joe Biden promised on his campaign website that he would “work to pass legislation to abolish the death penalty at the federal level and encourage states to follow the example of the federal government.”
Federal executions are currently on hold, also due to review by order of U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in July 2021. In addition to considering whether the lethal injectable drug pentobarbital is humane, Garland stated in a memo that the death penalty has a “disproportionate impact on people of color”.
This January, the outgoing Democratic Governor of Oregon Keith Brown commuted all death sentences in her state to life imprisonment.
Another outgoing Democrat, Governor of Nevada. Steve Sisolaktried to do the same, according to Associated Press. However, state law does not give the governor exclusive power to grant clemency, and the judge ruled that his attempt to call a last-minute clemency board meeting failed to notify the victims’ families of any such clemency 15 days in advance. action.
So, yes, that’s what Democrats do when they’re either lame ducks or don’t have to worry about shaky support in a regular red state. In Hobbs’ case, she doesn’t have that luxury.
The question then becomes whether the commissioner she is about to appoint will be nothing more than a tool to stop the death penalty while avoiding the wrath of the public that supports it.
However, at least she’ll spare a cold-blooded killer like Aaron Ganches a little more and deny justice to his loved ones.