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Arizona lawmakers move to tighten state's death penalty law

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Posted at 9:32 AM, Mar 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-02 11:32:35-05

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona legislators are moving to tighten the state's law on capital punishment by eliminating three of the 14 so-called "aggravating factors" than can be the basis for imposing death sentences.

Some U.S. Supreme Court justices haves said Arizona's multitude of aggravating factors means virtually every defendant convicted of first-degree murder could be eligible for death, violating the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports that the Maricopa County Attorney's Office supports the bill that has cleared the Senate with bipartisan support and now awaits House consideration.

A lobbyist for the County Attorney's Office said the law is constitutionally sound but that there's been discussion about ways to ensure that it can remain on the books for the future.