Arizona Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857, June 13, 2008, 03:11:44 AM

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Lethal-drug shortage looms as Ariz. closes in on 4 executions
Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:43 PM

Four more Arizona death-row inmates are close to execution dates, but the state may have to scramble to get the drugs it needs to carry out the sentences.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently turned away appeals in the four cases, putting the inmates near the end of the line.

A shortage of the single drug that the state uses may force officials with the Arizona Department of Corrections to find another drug or source because the only manufacturer of the drug pentobarbital has blocked sales for executions.

That leaves the department with few choices: A compounding pharmacy could mix up a batch of pentobarbital from its base ingredients, the state could buy it outside normal distribution channels, or it could switch to another drug or combinations of drugs, according to Dale Baich, who leads the unit of the Federal Public Defender's Office that represents inmates on death row.

Any of the choices could set off another round of legal challenges, based on what has happened in other states, Baich said. The source of compounding ingredients and their efficacy could be challenged, for instance.

Corrections spokesman Doug Nick said the state will follow the law. Stephanie Grisham, spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office, said the state is weighing its options and considering the timing of the executions.

Arizona has seen similar legal challenges about the drugs it uses in its executions.

The state switched to pentobarbital in 2011 after a shortage of sodium thiopental threatened to sideline executions.

Two inmates due for execution in October challenged the department's attempt to keep the name of the drug manufacturer secret.

U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver ordered the department to reveal the drugmaker and provide the expiration date of the drug that would be used.

The batch of pentobarbital that was used to execute Edward Schad and Robert Jones last month expires this month, and additional factory-made pentobarbital likely isn't available because of the manufacturer's sales ban.

The state has yet to ask the Arizona Supreme Court for a warrant of execution for the four inmates whose appeals have been exhausted. The four are Pete Rogovich, Roger Scott, Joe Wood and Kevin Miles.

Arizona death-row inmates whose appeals have been exhausted include (clockwise, from top left) Pete Rogovich, Roger Scott, Joe Wood and Kevin Miles.
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Convictions, sentence upheld in Mesa killings case
Posted on December 27, 2013 at 1:20 PM

PHOENIX (AP) -- The Arizona Supreme Court has affirmed the convictions and death sentence of a man found guilty of murdering five people in a Mesa home in 2006.

The ruling from the state's high court was released Friday in the case of William Craig Miller, who was seeking a new trial.

Miller was convicted in 2011 of killing an extended family as part of an arson-for-hire cover up.

Authorities say Miller fatally shot 30-year-old Steven Duffy and Duffy's girlfriend, 32-year-old Tammy Lovell.

Duffy and Lovell were former employees of Miller's. They were working as police informants against him in a 2005 arson case in which authorities say Miller enlisted Duffy to help him burn down his own home to collect insurance money.

Miller also killed Duffy's 18-year-old brother and Lovell's two children.

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Arizona court turns down death row inmate's appeal
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the convictions and death sentences of a man convicted of fatally stabbing his pregnant girlfriend.

Israel Joseph Naranjo, now 40 years old, was sentenced to death by a Maricopa County Superior Court jury for the March, 25, 2007 killings of Delia Rivera and her fetus.

Jurors ruled that Naranjo was eligible for the death sentences because he killed an unborn child in the womb, had a previous conviction for a serious offense and the murder of Rivera was especially cruel.

The jurors did not find defense arguments for sentencing leniency persuasive.
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Court resurrects Arizona death-row inmate's suit
August 11, 2014

PHOENIX -- An appeals court has resurrected a lawsuit by an Arizona death-row inmate who alleged a prison officer violated his constitutional rights by reading a letter he wrote to his lawyer.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday in prisoner Scott D. Nordstrom's appeal that the Constitution doesn't let prison officers read outgoing letters between inmates and their lawyers.

The ruling revives Nordstrom's legal claims and sends his lawsuit back to a lower court, but it makes no changes to his convictions or death sentence.

Nordstrom, 46, was convicted of killing six people in two robberies in 1996 in Tucson. Two people were killed at a smoke shop in one robbery, while four others were killed during a holdup 14 days later at a social club. Nordstrom was sentenced to death. One of his accomplices was executed last year.

Nordstrom alleged a jail officer read his two-page letter in May 2011, refused his requests to stop viewing it and claimed he had the power to search mail for contraband and scan the contents to ensure they concerned legal matters. The prisoner claimed the experience forced him to stop relaying sensitive information about his case to his lawyer.

The appeals court ruled prison officials can inspect inmates' outgoing mail in their presence to ensure there are no escape plans, maps of prison yards and other suspicion features. But the court said the Constitution doesn't let prison officers read outgoing letters between inmates and their lawyers.

One of the three appellate judges wrote a dissent that said, in part, that prison officials aren't prevented from reading legal letters with an eye toward discovering illegal activity.
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Crap, he killed six innocent people and therefore it's more than ok that he got death and lost most of his rights, carry it out and he can't write letters anyway >:(
Born in Berlin, American at heart


Judge throws out death sentence for Phoenix killer
March 12, 2015

Darrel Pandeli killed and mutilated two prostitutes in Phoenix in 1993. He was sentenced to death twice for one of the murders and sentenced to 20 years for the other.

But in a ruling published Thursday, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge threw out the death sentence and ordered a new sentencing trial on the grounds that Pandeli's trial lawyers did not provide effective representation by failing to present evidence of Pandeli's brain damage and abusive upbringing during the sentencing phase of his trial.

"The judge is basically saying that Pandeli has impairments but (the original lawyers) did not articulate it properly, and they let the state's expert give an improper evaluation," said attorney Ken Countryman, who represented Pandeli in the current matter.

Neither the Arizona Attorney General's Office, which handled the appeal for the state, nor the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, which will likely have to retry the case, provided comment on the ruling.

The ruling was officially handed down Feb. 27, but published Thursday.

Pandeli was arrested in 1993 for the murder of Holly Iler, a 43-year-old who was the daughter of a prominent family but had turned to prostitution to support a drug habit. Pandeli hired Iler for sex but became enraged when he could not perform, so he beat her, slashed her throat, mutilated her breasts and left her nude body near what is now Christown Spectrum Mall.

After his arrest, Pandeli confessed to the murder and mutilation of another prostitute. He was convicted of second-degree murder in that killing and sentenced to 20 years in prison, a term he has already completed.

In 1996, Pandeli was found guilty of killing Iler, and a judge sentenced him to death. But a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as the Ring Decision mandated jury sentencing instead of judge sentencing in death-penalty cases, sending the case back to Maricopa County Superior Court for re-sentencing.

Pandeli went back on trial and in 2006 was sentenced to death again, this time by a jury. The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed both the conviction and the death sentence.

But as happens in death-penalty cases, after the so-called direct appeal to the state Supreme Court, and sometimes after the U.S. Supreme Court turns down appeal, the case can return to Superior Court in what is called post-conviction relief. That is the first time that a defendant can raise appeal issues regarding a trial attorney's performance, referred to in legal parlance as "ineffective assistance of counsel."

Countryman argued that the original attorneys and mitigation expert did not adequately present the extensive abuse Pandeli had suffered as a child nor the existence of brain damage.

Judge Robert Gottsfield, in what was his last major ruling -- he retired March 6 after 35 years on the bench -- agreed and threw out the death sentence.

"Defendant, it is clear, suffers from a serious mental illness (cerebral dysfunction and impaired frontal lobes) but the jury was told he had an anti-social personality disorder and was a malingerer," Gottsfield wrote.

Gottsfield also cited federal case law requiring that defendants have a right to be sentenced on the basis of correct information.

Whether the prosecutor decides to settle with a life sentence or to stage a third trial remains to be seen.
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Arizona court reinstates death sentence for 1993 killing
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - An Arizona Supreme Court ruling reinstates a man's death sentence for a 1993 killing in Phoenix.

The unanimous ruling Monday says a Maricopa County Superior Court judge was incorrect when he ruled that Darrel Peter Pandeli didn't receive effective legal representation during a re-sentencing.

Pandeli was sentenced to death for the killing of Holly Iller, but his death sentence was thrown out because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a procedural issue that affected a number of death-penalty cases.

Pandeli then was re-sentenced to death, but a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled that Pandeli's lawyers didn't handle his case adequately.

However, the Arizona Supreme Court ruling concludes otherwise and reinstates Pandeli's death sentence.

Pandeli also got a 20-year term for a 1991 killing.

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