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'I'm not going to put an arbitrary timeline on this': County attorney respects decision of death penalty review, hopes for expeditious process

The governor issued an executive order Friday that asks for an independent commissioner to review how Arizona executes inmates.

PHOENIX — After an executive order established an independent review of Arizona's death penalty process, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she respects the process and hopes it will be speedy and transparent.

RELATED: AG Kris Mayes halts executions, wants Arizona to review capital punishment protocols

Governor Katie Hobbs issued the executive order on Friday, Jan. 20, calling for an independent review of capital punishment procedures.

The order assigns a commissioner to review Arizona's capital punishment processes and issue a final report to the governor that includes recommendations on improving transparency and accountability. 

"I respect the efforts of the governor and the attorney general to create an informed process," Mitchell said. "That being said, I also took an oath to uphold the constitution and law of Arizona."

She says that the Maricopa County Attorney's Office (MCAO) will continue to conduct business as usual during the review process. Mitchell also says that they're working directly with the attorney general's office to stay up to day on any changes or updates. 

Mitchell says that she'll be watching what Gov. Hobbs does next, and will proceed based on the findings of the review.

"Once somebody has exhausted their appeals, the next step is to seek an execution warrant. I'm not going to put an arbitrary timeline on this but I expect it to be expedient," Mitchell said.

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Arizona began executing inmates again in 2022 after an eight-year hiatus. The 2014 execution of Joseph Wood reportedly took almost two hours to carry out, resulting in the state temporarily halting executions. 

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