Gov. Hobbs, Attorney General Mayes pause death penalty in Arizona pending review process

The US Supreme Court last June refused to postpone the execution of an Arizona man. Frank Atwood received a death sentence in Arizona after he murdered an 8-year-old girl in 1984.

By Jimmy Jenkins || The Arizona Republic

Gov. Katie Hobbs announced the appointment of a Death Penalty Independent Review Commissioner on Friday, and Attorney General Kris Mayes filed to withdraw a motion for the only pending death warrant, effectively pausing executions in Arizona.

In a statement, Hobbs said the commissioner would be tasked with “reviewing and providing transparency into the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation, & Reentry (ADCRR) lethal injection drug and gas chamber chemical procurement process, execution protocols, and staffing considerations including training and experience.”

Hobbs said the commissioner will then issue a final report that includes recommendations on improving the transparency, accountability, and safety of the execution process.

“With the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry now under new leadership, it’s time to address the fact that this is a system that needs better oversight on numerous fronts,” Hobbs said. “Arizona has a history of mismanaged executions that have resulted in serious questions and concerns about ADCRR’s execution protocols and lack of transparency. I’m confident that under Director Thornell, ADCRR will take this executive action seriously.”

Former Gov. Doug Ducey and former Attorney General Mark Brnovich resumed executions in Arizona in 2022, carrying out the lethal injections of death row prisoners Clarence Dixon, Frank Atwood, and Murray Hooper.


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January 2023