Login

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

PHOENIX -- A central Arizona prosecutor said Friday he wants anyone convicted of murder with a previous human-smuggling conviction to be eligible for the death penalty.

Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles told the Arizona Capitol Times that he is pushing a proposal to have past convictions for human smuggling and assisting a human smuggling operation factor into death-sentence deliberations.

Voyles said the legislation could help deter people from smuggling people across the U.S.-Mexico border.

"If they're going to do this, they better make sure they are aware of the consequences," Voyles told The Associated Press.

According to the state's death-penalty statute, a person is only eligible for a death sentence if convicted of first-degree murder with at least one aggravating circumstance. The 14 aggravating circumstances include being previously convicted of a serious offense.

There are more than a dozen serious offenses listed in the statute, such as sexual assault, arson of an occupied structure and robbery. Voyles' plan would add the smuggling offenses to the list.

Voyles has also proposed that aggravating circumstances include a "continuing threat" or "future dangerousness." In that instance, the state would have to prove the person will almost certainly commit murder or violent acts in the future.

Dale Baich, who oversees federal public defender's office for the Arizona district that represents death-row inmates, is among those who think broadening the state's death penalty law could put it at risk of being found unconstitutional.

"An argument can be made that Arizona has expanded its eligibility requirements for the death penalty, which is inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent requiring narrow application," Baich said.

Voyles said he has already met with Republican Rep. Justin Pierce of Mesa about drafting legislation.

Democratic Rep. Martin Quezada, who serves on the state House Judiciary Committee and would likely get to vote on such legislation, said the proposal is the wrong tactic to take against human smuggling.

Smuggling is a bad crime, he said. "But making it death-penalty eligible? We don't know if this will make instances of human smuggling happen less often...It's questionable if the death penalty works as a deterrent in general," Quezada said.

___

Information from: Arizona Capitol Times, http://www.arizonacapitoltimes.com

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: