The Arizona Capital Representation Project is a non-profit legal service organization that assists indigent persons facing the death penalty in Arizona through direct representation, consulting services, training and education. The Project receives no government funding and relies on the support of your generous donations.
In an amended opinion filed today, the Arizona Supreme Court again affirmed Christopher Payne’s death sentences over (a rare) dissent by Justice Bales. The trial court excluded an entire category of mitigating evidence–Skipper/post-incarceration behavior evidence. Justice Bales would remand for a new penalty hearing pursuant to Lockett. Access the opinion here: 2013-11-21 Amended Opinion
Michael Kiefer of the Arizona Republic has written a series of articles on prosecutorial misconduct in the state. This excellent four-part series can be found here:
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals once again granted relief in Steven James v. Ryan. The Court had previously found that Mr. James was denied constitutionally effective counsel at sentencing. After the James opinion, the Supreme Court decided Johnson v. Williams, which creates a rebuttable presumption that the state court adjudicated a claim on the merits. The Supreme Court remanded Mr. James’s case back to the Ninth Circuit to reconsider in light of Johnson.
Applying the presumption, the Ninth Circuit concluded, once again, that the state court had not adjudicated Mr. James’s claim on the merits, but had instead denied relief on procedural grounds.
The 9th Circuit has recently issued several opinions in capital cases.
In Detrich v. Ryan, the Court remanded to the district court for consideration of arguments raised pursuant to Martinez v. Ryan.
In Schurz v. Ryan and McKinney v. Ryan, the Court denied relief.
The Court affirmed the convictions and death sentence in State v. Payne this morning. The opinion is below.