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Opening Statement on HB 2313 at Arizona House Judiciary Committee
 
Date: 2/13/2014
    
Opening Statement on HB 2313 at Arizona House Judiciary Committee

Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles

Opening Statement

House Judiciary Committee

Thursday, February 13, 2014

 

 

Good morning and thank you for the opportunity to speak with you on this legislation and what I consider an important tool for prosecutors in Arizona. 

 

I would like to begin by specifically thanking Representative Pierce for his leadership and sponsorship of this legislation.

 

HB 2313 adds one aggravating circumstance to Arizona's death penalty statute and recognizes smuggling and participating in or assisting a human smuggling organization as serious offenses.

 

The continuing threat aggravator enables prosecutors to argue and jurors to consider a convicted murderer's criminal behavior in a significant way during sentencing. Provable crimes, which may exist beyond the statute of limitations, or certain gang-related attributes such as blood-in, blood-out would be allowed to be heard by the jury.  In fact, both Oregon and Texas require that the State show that an offender poses a threat of future dangerousness before the death penalty may be imposed.

 

As for smuggling and participating in or assisting a human smuggling organization, it is time that the State of Arizona recognizes the seriousness of these crimes as individuals are subjected to dangerous conditions when they are illegally brought into Arizona.  Specifically, smuggled individuals often endure extreme temperatures, a lack of food and water, and an overwhelming disregard for human life.  Important and unfortunate to note, nearly 17 percent of all illegal aliens are children and these unknowing participants are certainly not exempt from smuggling nor the depraved conditions involved.  We must recognize smuggling as a serious offense and smugglers must be held accountable for their actions.

 

I welcome any questions and, in general, ask for your support allowing prosecutors to possess the tools we need.

 

Thank you.

 

Jim Knupp
County Attorney's PIO
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