WHAT DOES THE DEATH PENALTY CHALLENGE IN ARIZONA MEAN TO THE REST OF AMERICA?
April 1, 2018 | View PDF
Right now in front of this United States Supreme Court the Arizona death penalty challenge means no change in the standing State laws. A much more liberal sided Court in the future could well change that dependent on their interpretation of the United States Constitution and a then considered murder case or cases.
First, the United States Supreme Court turned down a request to hear the case. Before the United States Supreme Court might hear a case, a Writ of Certiorari may be filed with the United States Supreme Court, by an appealing party from a Federal or state case. Many in the legal community refer to that as “Cert”. Just what is a Writ of Certiorari?
For a Writ of Certiorari to be considered, at least four of the Supreme Court justices must agree that the circumstances in the Petition are worth reviewing by the Court and the Court will order that the case be sent up from the lower court for consideration. Forty copies of the Petition are filed with the Supreme Court. Consideration by the Court does not in any way suggest that the Court is in agreement with the Petitioner and only about 100-150 of the more than seven thousand cases of “Cert” filed annually are actually heard by the Supreme Court. Among those cases they are generally limited to one or two issues from the cases and not all of the potential issues.
So on to the Arizona case; the United States Supreme Court denied the Writ of Certiorari, so for the present the question of whether the death penalty is cruel and unusual will not be heard nor considered in Arizona as to how narrow the aggravating factors must be to impose a death penalty. For the time being the will of the Supreme Court will not be imposed on the State of Alabama as the right of gay marriage was in 2015 against the will of the majority of citizens in many states nor that of Roe v Wade which made abortion legal in 1973 with around 60 million murders of those unborn since that time. Unfortunately while African Americans make up about 13% of the total population, abortion murders of African American children are just over 35% of that total.
Even in 2015, Supreme Court Justice Breyer had urged his colleagues to consider the death penalty as being cruel and unusual under the meaning of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Following four years of a moratorium on the death penalty the Supreme Court held in a 1976 Georgia case that the death penalty is certainly constitutional where certain aggravating factors exist. The Arizona case involved an individual that killed someone for money and killed a bystander as well. While death penalty cases should involve certain factors to rise to the level of the death penalty it was determined that 98% of Arizona’s incarcerated murderers were eligible for the death penalty.
The murder of a human being is awful and there are certainly cases where the death penalty should be considered. The death of a victim which may involve brutality and extraordinary suffering probably far exceeds the use of large doses of sedatives and other drugs that take that murderer to the other side, whereever that may be.
This article is informative only and not meant to be all inclusive. Additionally this article does not serve as legal advice to the reader and does not constitute an attorney- client relationship. The reader should seek counsel from their attorney should any questions exist.
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Ronald A. Holtsford, LLC
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