Arizona Executions are Now Rolling Forward Despite the Costs

Mark Hake

Arizona is now executing prisoners after an 8-year hiatus. On May 11 one person was executed and another one is scheduled for June 8. This is despite the costs which can total $3 to $4 million per case.

Late Wednesday morning, May 11, the state of Arizona executed a man, Clarence Dixon, 66 by lethal injection. He was convicted in 1978 of killing an Arizona state college student, 21-year-old Arizona State University student Deana Bowdoin.

He was the sixth person executed in the United States in 2022.

According to KTAR News, Dixon’s lawyers made last-minute arguments to the courts to postpone his execution. However, judges rejected his argument that he isn’t mentally fit to be executed and didn’t have a rational understanding of why the state wanted to execute him.

In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-minute delay of Dixon’s execution less than an hour before his execution began.

Delays From the Past May Not Work

The execution of the death penalty had been held up for 8 years after the execution of Joseph Wood. then that critics say was botched. In addition, state authorities encountered complications finding lethal injection drugs.

Death row inmates and the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona filed a lawsuit over the execution of Joseph Wood.

Wood’s attorney said the death was botched after the man was given 15 doses of a two-drug combination over two hours on July 23, 2014.

However, the completion of today's execution has closed that avenue for future executions to be stopped.

Second Execution in Two Months Scheduled

The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday, May 10, issued an execution warrant for Frank Atwood. He was convicted of the 1984 death of 8-year-old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson.

Given that the May 11 execution went through without a hitch, it is possible the June 8 date set for Frank Atwood could go through as well unless stopped by judicial authorities.

The Arizona Dept. of Corrections maintains a website on the history of the state's death penalty. It says that any person who committed a crime prior to November 23, 1992, and was sentenced to death may choose execution by lethal gas or lethal injection.

Since the implementation of lethal injection, 14 inmates have been executed utilizing lethal injection. The Dixon execution today makes this the 15th person and the Atwood execution may be the 16th.

According to KVOA News in Tucson, death penalty cases in Arizona cost from $3 to 4 million per inmate. Ths is according to retired prosecutor Rick Unklesbay, who has 40 years of experience and recently retired from the Pima County Attorney's Office. He added that is why the smaller counties in Arizona are not seeking death penalty cases.

KVOA News points out that a similar case of a murderer who killed 2 young Tucson girls, Christopher Clements, will not be getting the death sentence. Clements was indicted on both murders in 2018 and has yet to go to trial. But the prosecutor is not seeking the death sentence due to the costs.

By comparison, Frank Atwoods, who is scheduled for the death penalty on June 8 after sitting on health row for 30 years, was convicted of killing an 8-year-old girl in 1984. Two cases, 30 years apart, now will have different ends, due to costs.

However, now that Clarence Dixon has been executed, criminals can no longer assume that murder will not result in their execution, despite the costs.

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This is not financial advice and you should not rely on my analysis to buy or sell any stock. I am not undertaking to induce you to buy or sell any securities.

I am relying on the “publisher’s exclusion” in the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to provide this information without any personalized or individualized investment advice.

Mark Hake writes articles on InvestorPlace.com, Barchart.com, Medium.com, and Newsbreak.com as well as a Beehiiv free newsletter on stocks and cryptos.

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Mark Hake is a financial analyst, investor, and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He writes about US and foreign stocks as well as cryptos, hedge funds, and private equity. He previously ran his own hedge fund, investment research firm, and acted as CFO for a fintech startup. He focuses on finding value, arbitrage, and hidden asset opportunities.

Phoenix, AZ
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