source: Chron News
published: 24 November 2017
An Arizona death row inmate’s Supreme Court case could force an end to capital punishment in Texas and across the country.
The appeal, filed by the high-profile attorney behind the Hawaii federal case fighting Trump’s travel ban, challenges the overly broad qualifying factors that can make a murder conviction death-eligible in Arizona. But if the court chooses to take up the question, any ruling could impact the Lone Star State’s death chamber – or shut it down entirely.
“It’s a broken system,” said Ben Cohen, a lawyer with the Promise of Justice Initiative, which filed an amicus brief supporting the appeal. “I think the Supreme Court will ultimately come to the place that the vast majority of Americans have come to, which is that the death penalty is unnecessary and excessive.”
Attorney Neal Katyal is representing Abel Hidalgo, who was convicted in a gang-related $1,000 contract killing in 2001. His petition, filed in August, asks the Court to consider two factors: whether Arizona law is not narrow enough to be constitutional and whether the death penalty as a whole is unconstitutional.
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