Arizona Judicial Branch



[These are cases where the defendant argued that his physical condition should be mitigating. The Court has determined that this is not a mitigating circumstance because it does not address the defendant's character, propensities, record, or the circumstances of the crime.]

State v. Spencer, 176 Ariz. 36, 859 P.2d 146 (1993)
The defendant's post-incarceration illnesses did not constitute a mitigating circumstance because they were not relevant in determining whether a sentence less than death was appropriate.

State v. Kayer, 194 Ariz. 423, 984 P.2d 31 (1999)
Post-murder physical health was not argued to the trial court, but was only argued on appeal. The Court found no cases that discuss this as a mitigating circumstance. No weight can be accorded this factor as his post-murder physical health does not address the defendant's character, propensities, record, or the circumstances of the murder.

State v. Lynch (Lynch II), -- Ariz. --, -- P.3d -- , 2015 WL 5254845 (September 10, 2015)
Lynch's medical condition is a mitigating circumstance of only minimal value. The defense suggested that he obtained hepatitis C from receiving a tattoo in jail after the murder, so his medical condition is not probative of his character, propensities, or record at the time of the murder or the circumstances of the offense. Further, we afford minimal value to the fact that a defendant will remain imprisoned for the rest of his life.

Dr. Altschuler testified at length about Lynch's hepatitis C and complications thereof, including cellulitis in his legs from a bacterial infection, the possibility that he could lose his legs, his several hospitalizations for encephalopathy, and his diminished life expectancy. Defense counsel argued that Lynch would die in prison because of his medical condition and his 21–year sentence for the non-capital offenses. The State's expert, Dr. Honan, agreed that Lynch has “significant chronic liver disease,” but did not “see negative prognostic indicators to suggest that he is terminally ill.”