Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona’s Summer 2015 newsletter is now available. You can access it by clicking here.
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In the wake of the Nebraska death-penalty repeal, Dan Peitzmeyer appeared on KJZZ’s Here and Now. He debated whether there was a need for the death penalty. You can hear his discussion by following this link.
Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona board member Dan Peitzmeyer shared his views with the Arizona Republic about Nebraska’s repeal of the death penalty.
Society is not benefiting from killing: we are not safer; victims’ family members do not get closure; it does not deter; we risk executing the innocent. Capital punishment is far more costly than the alternatives. In short, we’re not getting the best bang for our bucks.
You can read the rest of the interview by following this link.
Two Arizona Republic columnists, Laurie Roberts and Linda Valdez, also offered commentary on the death penalty. Roberts’s article is “Arizona should follow Nebraska and dump death penalty” and Valdez’s article is “Nebraska makes it trendy for GOP to ban death penalty.”
Dale Baich, a former recipient of the Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona Abolitionist of the Year award, was featured in the Arizona Republic for his years of efforts defending individuals sentenced to death.
While the public may view Supreme Court cases as solving broad ideological questions, Baich said he focuses on making the best case for his individual client. Still, he said, if the result of his work is a halt to capital punishment, he said he won’t be disappointed.
“The last 40 years have shown us,” he said, “there are problems with the death penalty.”
You can read the full article by following this link.
Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona board members Chuck LaRoue had an article in the Ahwatukee Foothill News calling on Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery to disclose the cost to taxpayers for the unsuccessful attempt to have Jodi Arias executed.
He added that taxpayers should feel fortunate, from the perspective of cost, that Arias won’t be executed:
From a fiscal point of view, we should be thankful that Ms. Arias did not receive the death penalty, especially in light to the massive cuts in spending because of our current fiscal crisis. Had she been sentenced to death, there would have been costs to the Department of Corrections, Attorney General’s Office, court-appointed attorneys for all appeals and post-conviction relief petitions, costs associated with appeals and post-conviction relief at the federal level and costs to the federal courts and costs to transport the defendant back and forth to all of the court proceedings. All of these costs would have been paid by taxpayers.
You can read the full article by following this link.
Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona president Dan Peitzmeyer debated the death penalty on PBS’ Horizon on April 16. He argued against Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery’s view in support of the death penalty.
You can watch the debate at this link, and below are some pictures from the event.
An opinion in the Casa Grande Dispatch appeared on April 21, discussing the higher cost of prosecutions to Pinal County taxpayers, particularly due to a significant increase in death-penalty cases.
The article noted:
A legal conference in Casa Grande Saturday shed some light on the ongoing discussion of the higher cost of prosecution in Pinal County in recent years, specifically a sharp increase in death-penalty cases. The county now has about 15 pending capital cases, roughly three times the number that existed before Lando Voyles was elected county attorney in 2012.
The article concluded by making it clear that ongoing capital prosecution would place a burden on county taxpayers.
Many people still favor the death penalty, and it is on the books in Arizona. But if the much-higher number of death penalty cases in Pinal continue forward, taxpayers will need to open their wallets wider.
You can read the article by following this link.
For Immediate Release
‘Not In My Name’ – Barber Speaks Out Against Death Penalty
Death penalty opponent Peitzmeyer to debate Maricopa County Attorney Montgomery Thursday
Tempe, Arizona (April 13, 2015). – For the first time in public, former U.S. Rep Ron Barber discussed his long-held opposition to capital punishment – a belief that remained unshaken even after he was wounded in the Jan. 8, 2011, attack in Tucson that claimed six lives and gravely wounded Barber’s boss, then U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
When prosecutors approached survivors and their relatives with their intent to seek the death penalty for the accused gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, Barber replied, “Not in my name.”
Barber made his remarks Saturday at the annual meeting of Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Barber also accepted a position on the group’s advisory board.
Also speaking Saturday were Christine McClaine, who described her experience watching her brother be executed; Mary Lash, author of “The Desert Murders: How Junk Science, Witness Contamination and Arizona Politics Condemned an Innocent Man,” about current death row inmate Scott Lehr, and Ken Everett, Lehr’s attorney in post-conviction relief appeals.
On Thursday, Dan Peitzmeyer, immediate past president of Death Penalty Alternatives, will debate Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery on the death penalty this Thursday, April 16, at 5:30 pm on Arizona Horizons, PBS Channel 8 in Phoenix.
Barber said his awareness of capital punishment came as a youth in England, where his father was stationed in the mid-1960s. Great Britain had executed its last inmate, by hanging, and was in the process of abolishing capital punishment for the crime of murder. (Great Britain abolished the death penalty in 1998.)
Barber’s next encounter with the death penalty came when he worked on a successful drive to abolish the death penalty in Arizona for persons with mental retardation.
But his most intimate encounter with the death penalty came when he and 20 others were shot by Loughner in a failed assassination attempt on Giffords. Barber said he would rather see governments push to identify and help the mentally ill and has no doubt that had Loughner been successfully treated, the 2011 shooting would never have occurred.
With one exception, the survivors and relatives told prosecutors not to seek death for Loughner, Barber said. That led to a plea deal in which Loughner, having received treatment in prison for schizophrenia, agreed to seven consecutive life sentences.
Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona is a statewide, grass roots membership organization working to eliminate the death penalty. For more information, call (602) 357-4848, email firstname.lastname@example.org or online at www.azdeathpenalty.org.
Robert Murray died last June, I believe from natural causes. My last letter from him, written a few months before his death, was the first that I had had from him for several months. He excused his apparent apathy with a lengthy description of cancer treatments that he had been receiving during that period. I believe the death was from cancer. His last letter sounded as if he was in a very bad way physically. Further, the listing of executions over the last few years did not list him.
The entire experience of knowing and visiting Robert was rewarding intellectually, though emotionally disturbing on occasion. Rewarding because I was suddenly viewing “life” (whatever that means when separated from a biological meaning) from a broadened perspective that I would never have tried to do before Robert. Disturbing in the grand scene because it forced the question of capital punishment upon me in a way that I could not ignore. Disturbing in the small scene because I did not keep the correspondence going with the vigor it deserved. Also disturbing because it forces a feeling of guilt of omission upon me. Not just for my apathy, but also for my failure to help him financially to hire a typist for one of his book manuscripts. This particular manuscript was an autobiographical retrospective on how he had ended up on death row. From the handwritten table of contents that he sent me, I believe that he had built the entire book on the notion of “bad decisions” that he had made. Taken this way, the book might have had value as a lesson to many young folks. In spite of my confusion of feelings, thanks for arranging the experience for me.
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