From: ("Kevin R. Spidel")
Subject: [aiarizona] AZ Supreme Court Heard DP Arguments at ASU
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 07:20:06 -0700

For those who could not make it yesterday.
Death penalty case heard at ASU
Law school hosts review of controversial statute
By Joanne
2861 >   Yuan 
ASU law students had a front row seat to history in the making on
Tuesday as the future of death row inmates was debated in front of the
Arizona Supreme Court in the Great Hall of the ASU law school. 
Twenty-nine inmates previously sentenced to death may receive a second
chance under a new statue that would require a jury, not a judge, to
decide whether a convicted felon is eligible for the death penalty. 
The review of the Arizona death penalty statute was held as part of an
annual forum hosted by the College of Law for higher court hearings. 
The history of this review is rooted in the case of Timothy Stuart Ring
who was sentenced to death in 1996 by an Arizona Superior Court judge
for the 1994 killing of a security guard in Phoenix. 
Ring argued that the ruling by the judge, rather than the jury, was in
violation of his sixth amendment right to fair trial by jury and took
his case to the nation's highest court. 
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court heard Arizona v. Timothy Stuart Ring and
ruled that Arizona's death penalty statute at the time was
"[The inmates] were tried, convicted and sentenced under an
unconstitutional law," said Andrew Hurwitz, attorney for the
Phoenix-based law firm Osborn and Maledon, who is representing the
inmates. He is also is one of the lawyers who brought the Arizona v.
Ring case before the U.S. Supreme Court. 
Hurwitz said the next step following the Arizona v. Ring ruling should
be to re-sentence the inmates to life in prison, saying that allowing
the previous death sentence to stand would be a "dangerous precedent." 
John Stookey, ASU adjunct professor of political science who also
practices criminal law for Osborn and Maledon, worked alongside Hurwitz
on the Arizona v. Ring case. 
Stookey said allowing the past rulings to stand would put into question
the importance of a jury trial. 
"The implication of [upholding the death sentence rulings] is that in
essence, the jury trial is really meaningless," he said. 
While opening arguments were heard Tuesday, the five-judge panel has not
set a time frame for a final ruling. 
Law professor Michael Berch said it was incredible that ASU law students
had the opportunity to observe such a significant hearing. 
"Even when I was at an Ivy League school, I never saw these things,"
Berch said. "This is the finest oral argument you can probably get in
this state and the students are close to it." 

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