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Cruz v. Arizona

AACJ collaborated with the Arizona Capital Representation Project on an amicus brief authored by Professor Elizabeth Bentley in Minnesota. The issue in this case is whether the Arizona Supreme Court purposefully ignored binding SCOTUS law on the right of a defendant to inform a capital jury that the defendant is ineligible for parole – a fact which is proven to influence juries when deciding whether to impose the death penalty. Once SCOTUS decided Lynch v. Arizona in 2016, however, it became obvious that Arizona had been disregarding the law. The Arizona Supreme Court responded by continuing to deny post-conviction relief to defendants, now claiming that Lynch did not change the law but merely how the law was applied. In oral argument yesterday, several SCOTUS justices called this sophistry what it was: Justice Barrett called it “hair-splitting,” and Justice Kagan said “I think Kafka would have loved this.”

Most fulfilling was hearing Justice Sotomayor specifically cite our brief in the argument! Her question begins at 35:35 of the recording. You can hear the recording at:

Cruz v. Arizona Oral Argument
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Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice

A statewide not-for-profit membership organization of criminal defense lawyers, law students and associated professionals dedicated to protecting the rights of the accused in the courts and in the legislature, promoting excellence in the practice of criminal law through education, training and mutual assistance, and fostering public awareness of citizens’ rights, the criminal justice system and the role of the defense lawyer.

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Ashley Sinclair-Chambers
2022 AACJ Officers
Criminal Defense Attorney Armando Nava
President
Armando Nava
The Nava Law Firm
Criminal Defense Attorney Rhonda Neff
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Rhonda Neff
Law Offices of Rhonda Neff
Criminal Defense Attorney Steven Scharboneau
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Steven Scharboneau
Stone Rose Law
Public Defender Thomas Knauer
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Thomas Knauer
Pima County
Criminal Defense Attorney Louis Fidel
Past President
Louis Fidel
Piccarreta Davis Keenan Fidel PC
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