Login

Register | Forgot Your Password? | Close
Register | Forgot Your Password? | Close

PHOENIX -- A spending proposal at the Arizona Legislature would let the Attorney General's Office get $500,000 from a state fund for indigent defendants to pay for prosecuting certain death-penalty proceedings.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports that defense attorneys believe the move would put more pressure on counties to meet requirements to adequately fund capital defense and could create problems with due process and right to counsel.

The proposal was approved by the Senate on May 16, but it would have to be approved by the House and signed by Gov. Jan Brewer to take effect.

Under the proposal, the attorney general would get $500,000 in fiscal year 2013-14 to use on capital post-conviction relief proceedings and would have to submit a plan for turning over the extensive and costly proceedings to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

The earmark would come from the state aid to indigent defense fund, a small pool of money doled out to counties, but not a dime of which has landed in a county coffer in two years since the money was diverted to the Department of Public Safety one year and not appropriated the next. The Legislature created the fund in 1999, along with funds for prosecutors and courts to handle an explosion in caseloads and keep cases within constitutionally required time limits.

Brewer's spending plan calls for eliminating the fund and diverting the money permanently to DPS.

The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, which is in charge of distributing the money, is lobbying to get $1.8 million appropriated to the fund for fiscal year 2014. But the proposal approved by the Senate accounted only for the earmark to the Attorney General's Office, and lobbyists for county interests haven't made the fund a priority as they grapple with restoring much more monumental cuts to counties in recent years.

"There is enough to give the $500,000 to the AG for capital post-conviction relief and still support the counties and that is what we are proposing to do," Criminal Justice Commission spokesman George Diaz said.

David Euchner, president-elect of the commission and a deputy Pima County public defender, said funding indigent defense is mandated, so the costs will simply shift to the counties.

Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office, said capital post-conviction relief proceedings cost the office a significant amount of money and staff time. And while the attorney general asked for the money, the office didn't ask that it come from indigent defense.

Associated Press,

share this story:
Attention KTAR.com Comment Users: We have recently changed our comments boards.
We would like you to be part of the conversation and The Voice of Arizona by logging in with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing KTAR (Arizona Sports) account members will need to create a Disqus account or use one of the aforementioned social media logins. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus

World Class Arizona

  • Dignity Health

    World Class People. World Class Company. Excellent care, delivered with compassion, for all in need.
  • CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company

    SCF Arizona has a new name. They are now CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company.
  • Taylor Morrison

    World Class People. World Class Company. We are a national home builder committed to building homes inspired by you.
  • Go Daddy

    World Class People. World Class Company. Go Daddy is a Fortune 100 "Best Companies to Work For."
  • Avnet

    World Class People. World Class Company. Here's information on a Fortune 500 company from Arizona.

Voice For A Better Arizona

  • Working For Arizona

    The business and economics of Arizona at the start of 2014 and looking forward.
  • Arizonans In Need

    Putting a focus on charities and organizations who provide help and/or need your help to fulfill their missions.
close

Share: