State Bar No.007442
3443 North Central, Ste. 706
Phoenix, AZ 85012
Fax (602) 771-9014
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ARIZONA
In the Matter of:
AMENDMENT OF RULE 8.2(a)(4)
OF THE ARIZONA RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
I am submitting a brief comment to the above captioned Petition because I was a member of the committee which drafted numerous proposed amendments to Rule 8 and Rule 15 in 2001, and, thereafter, after Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002), I petitioned to amend Rule 8.2(a)(4) in light of that decision. The current petition seeks further amendment, in light of experience and practice, and the purpose of this comment is to describe how the current time limit of 18 months came about.
On or about February 17, 2000, the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice filed a petition to Amend Criminal Rule 15.7 with the Court. The Court referred the Petition to a committee chaired by then Maricopa County Superior Court Criminal Presiding Judge Roger Kaufman.
Additionally, on or about June 12, 2000, the Maricopa County Superior Court petitioned to amend Rule 8 to establish a single triggering date and to establish more realistic time frames. This proposal was also referred to the Committee which became known as the “Rule 8 and Rule 15 Committee.”
The Committee thereafter reviewed the entirety of Rule 15 and, on April 19, 2001, submitted its Combined Petition to Amend Rule 8.2 and Rule 15. On May 7, 2001, this Court ordered that the petition be circulated for comment. After comments were received, the committee reconvened and considered the comments.
The Court issued its order revising Rule 8.2 on or about May 31, 2002, effective December 1, 2002, establishing a nine month time frame for homicide cases.
Ring v. Arizona was decided by the United States Supreme Court on June 24, 2002. Reacting to the decision, the state legislature amended the death penalty statute. The amendment created jury sentencing immediately following a conviction. This amendment significantly lengthened the preparation time in a capital case for defense counsel.
Based on these developments, on September 14, 2002, I filed a Petition to Amend Rule 8.2, seeking an eighteen month time frame for capital cases. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office had also filed a petition seeking numerous changes to the Rules of Criminal Procedure at about the same time; one of the proposed changes was to amend Rule 8.2 to provide for a twelve month time frame for capital cases.
At the time these petitions were filed, there had been no experience under the new process and it was noted in the petition seeking an eighteen month time frame that there was dispute in the community about the amount of time that would be required to prepare for a capital case. The suggested eighteen month time frame was an estimate based upon a canvassing of defense attorneys involved in capital cases, although there was disagreement in the community.
On October 1, 2002, the Court adopted the Petition, as modified, on an emergency basis, and allowed comments. Since then, the Court has maintained the eighteen month frame.
With six years of experience, it is probably a good time to re-visit the Rule. Moreover, the Court is better able to assess an appropriate time frame as a result of the work done by the Capital Case Task Force and Oversight Committees. The Court is more aware of the resources available to the parties and the Superior Court.
It would be imprudent to consider the current eighteen month time frame as anything but an estimate necessarily generated as a result of the statutory changes to the death penalty statutes. The Court should re-consider the eighteen month time frame, in light of six years experience, and determine whether or not eighteen months is a sufficient amount of time to allow for the preparation of a capital case.
RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED this 20th day of May , 2008.