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LAWYERS SEEK TO DELAY EXECUTIONS OF ARIZONA DEATH ROW INMATES

Attorneys and criminal lawyers often use stays of execution as a last ditch attempt to avoid the death penalty for their clients, or at the very least preserving them precious moments before the carrying out of a penalty. At the same time, each day an inmate is kept on death row costs the taxpayers of the state in which they are being held more and more money. One inmate has been on death row for over 20 years! Will be very interesting to see how these cases play out.

Posted by: Phoenix Arizona Criminal Lawyer and Attorney

Full article below.

PHOENIX (AP) — Lawyers are seeking to delay the upcoming executions of two Arizona death-row inmates, one for DNA testing and the other because he was recently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Richard Lynn Bible is set to be executed at a state prison in Florence on June 30, and Thomas Paul West’s execution is scheduled for July 19.

Both men’s attorneys recently filed motions to stay their executions, with Bible’s lawyer arguing that he wants DNA testing that could exonerate his client, and West’s saying that his client had ineffective lawyers and his recent diagnosis of PTSD likely would have gotten him a lesser sentence.

Bible, 49, has been on death row since 1990 after being convicted of raping and fatally bludgeoning a 9-year-old Yuma girl on vacation with her family in Flagstaff. Bible has always said he was innocent of the crime.

With just two weeks until Bible’s scheduled execution, his attorney filed a motion for a stay with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco so he can have more time to get DNA testing on hairs that were used as evidence in his trial.

“The public has no interest in seeing an execution carried out as punishment inflicted while Bible is seeking to have evidence that was used against him DNA tested,” wrote his attorney, Daniel Maynard, in a Wednesday filing. “Allowing such an unconstitutional execution to proceed would undermine the public’s confidence in Arizona’s criminal justice system. DNA evidence can exonerate Bible and render the jury’s verdict in this case unsafe.”

Maynard also is asking the court to grant his appeal of a lower court’s ruling that denied appointing the Arizona Federal Public Defender’s Office to help in Bible’s case.

Maynard argues that attorneys at the office are much more familiar with death penalty cases and that the caseload is much too large for him to handle himself, thus depriving Bible of his right to due process.

West, 52, has been on death row since 1988 after being convicted in the beating death of Donald Bortle after robbing his home just outside of Tucson. West acknowledged killing Bortle after days of alcohol and drug abuse.

His attorney, Paula Harms, argues that West’s previous attorneys were ineffective and that he only recently was diagnosed with PTSD caused by a traumatic childhood filled with physical and sexual abuse and heavy drug use.

West recently told a psychologist that he was sexually abused by a teacher, a neighbor and a priest at various times in his childhood. The priest has been convicted of abusing other boys.

Harms argues that if the judge had known about West’s childhood and PTSD, he likely would have sentenced him to life in prison.

West reported having a vague memory of the crime, and said he “freaked out” when he saw Bortle appear in a hallway as he was robbing his home.

“I kind of remember struggling with Mr. Bortle. I don’t remember tying him up,” West said in March. “I can’t believe I did this, but I know I did. … He did nothing to deserve this.

“I will never be able to forgive myself,” he said.

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