The Arizona Supreme Court said it would not force Gov. Katie Hobbs to carry out an execution warrant on a death row prisoner, saying the state’s constitution does not require the governor to do so.
The court said in its order Wednesday that while its role is to issue death warrants that authorize the department of corrections to carry out the executions, the constitution does not mandate the governor to act on the warrant.
The high court said the state constitution stipulates the governor “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” and is required to protect victims’ rights to justice and due process but added that those were “mixed questions of law and fact that are not properly before us.”
In question is death row inmate Aaron Gunches, who faces death for a 2002 murder of a romantic rival, and Hobbs’ review of death penalty protocols after what she called past mismanagement of executions in the state.
The sister of Gunches victim, Karen Price, had petitioned the court in hopes to force Hobbs to go through with the execution as scheduled, but Hobbs stood pat.
“Under my administration, an execution will not occur until the people of Arizona can have confidence that the state is not violating the law in carrying out the gravest of penalties,” Hobbs said earlier this month.
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