Governor Refuses To Authorize Execution

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

On Friday, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs vowed that her administration would not proceed with an execution, despite it being scheduled by the state Supreme Court following the state’s new attorney general’s objection.

Hobbs has stated that her administration would not proceed with the execution of Aaron Gunches on April 6. Gunches was convicted of murder in a 2002 killing. According to the state Supreme Court, the execution warrant is mandatory following the conclusion of certain appellate proceedings. These requirements have been fulfilled in Gunches’ case.

Hobbs a week earlier had appointed retired U.S. Magistrate Judge David Duncan to investigate the state’s protocols regarding the procurement of lethal injection drugs and the death penalty protocols, following the state’s past failures in managing executions.

In a statement, Hobbs notes that her administration would not be proceeding with any executions until they could guarantee that the Arizona people can be certain that no laws are being violated when the execution takes place.

Attorney General Kris Mayes’ office has further noted that during the probe, they would not be looking to carry out execution court orders.

Mayes previously made a withdrawal request to Mark Brnovich, her Republican predecessor, for a warrant for Gunches. However, on Tuesday the court rejected that request stating that Hobb’s review was not considered a “good cause for refraining from issuing the warrant.”

Hobbs has claimed that while Gunche’s execution has been authorized by the court the state does not have to proceed with it.