The Arizona Daily Sun reports, "Brewer vetoes bill expanding reasons for death penalty." It's by Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services.
Calling it a serious threat to the state’s death penalty, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed legislation Thursday that would have allowed more criminals to be executed.
HB2313 would have added more factors to the list of what jurors could use in deciding whether someone convicted of a capital crime should be sentenced to life behind bars or executed. That new list includes both causing a death while engaged in human smuggling as well as having been previously convicted of that offense.
And it also would put jurors in the position of determining if that person might commit future criminal acts.
Arizona law says those convicted of first-degree murder can be put to death. But the law also says that there have to be “aggravating factors” beyond a simple premeditated murder.
These range from killing someone for money to committing the crime in “an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner.”
HB2313 sought to add to that list the jury’s determination there was “a substantial likelihood that the defendant would commit criminal acts of violence that constitute a continuing threat to society.”
“The proposed additional language in the legislation broadens the scope of those eligible for the death penalty to the point where the constitutionality of Arizona’s death penalty statute likely would be challenged and potentially be declared to be unconstitutional,” Brewer wrote in her veto message.
"Governor signs laws, issues vetoes," is the Arizona Republic coverage by Alia Beard Rau.
Capital sentencing: House Bill 2313 would have included as aggravating factors in a death-penalty case human smuggling, as well as a substantial likelihood the defendant would be a continuing threat to society.
Earlier coverage of the Arizona legislation begins at the link.