SB 1314: death penalty; aggravating circumstances
PRIME SPONSOR: Senator Farnsworth E, LD 12
BILL STATUS: House Engrossed
Eliminates certain aggravating circumstances that qualify a defendant convicted of murder for the death penalty.
Certain murder convictions qualify for the death penalty (A.R.S. § 13-751). A person may only be sentenced to death if the jury finds that, beyond a reasonable doubt, at least one enumerated aggravating circumstance applies. These aggravating circumstances include when the defendant:
1. Has another conviction that qualified for a sentence of life imprisonment or death;
2. Has been convicted, at any time, of a serious offense;
3. Knowingly created a grave risk of death to someone other than the person murdered;
4. Paid someone to commit, or was paid to commit, the murder;
5. Committed the offense to obtain something of pecuniary value;
6. Committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner;
7. Committed the offense while in custody or on probation;
8. Is convicted of other homicides committed during the offense;
9. Was tried as an adult and the victim was under 16 years of age, was an unborn child, or was older than 69 years of age;
10. Knowingly murdered an on-duty peace officer;
11. Committed the offense to promote the objectives of a criminal street gang or criminal syndicate, or in order to join such an organization;
12. Committed the offense to prevent the victim from cooperating with law enforcement or testifying, or in retaliation for cooperation or testimony;
13. Committed the offense in a cold, calculated manner without pretense of moral or legal justification; or
14. Used a remote stun gun or authorized remote stun gun in the commission of the offense.
If one or more of these factors is present, the jury must impose a death sentence unless a mitigating circumstance exists that sufficiently calls for leniency.
1. Eliminates as aggravating circumstances that the defendant:
a. Knowingly created a grave risk of death to a person other than the person murdered;
b. Committed the offense expecting to receive something of pecuniary value, unless the defendant committed the offense for payment;
c. Committed the offense in a cold, calculated manner without pretense of moral or legal justification; or
d. Used a remote stun gun or authorized remote stun gun in commission of the offense.
2. Makes conforming changes.
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6. Fifty-fourth Legislature SB 1314
7. First Regular Session Version 3: House Engrossed
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