FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, March 16, 2023
President Warren Petersen Fights Back Against Governor's Opposition in Providing Crime Victim's Family with Justice
PHOENIX, ARIZONA— Senate President Warren Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma are taking action against the Governor's refusal to comply with a court order on the execution of Aaron Brian Gunches, who was sentenced to death in the brutal 2002 murder case of Ted Price.
Late Wednesday night, the legislative leaders filed an amicus brief with the Arizona Supreme Court to support the victim's sister, who submitted a petition for special action last week asking the court to direct the Governor to carry out the warrant issued earlier in the month to execute Gunches.
The Governor has stated she has no intention of carrying out this execution, however, no law allows the Executive Branch to unilaterally suspend executions. The Warrant of Execution is not up for debate.
The Arizona Supreme Court's execution warrant states in part, “IT IS ORDERED … fixing Thursday, the 6th day of April 2023, as the date for commencement of the execution time period when the judgment and sentence of death pronounced upon AARON BRIAN GUNCHES by the Superior Court in Maricopa County shall … be executed by administering to AARON BRIAN GUNCHES by intravenous injection a substance or substances in quantity sufficient to cause death.”
"Right now, victims' rights protected under the Arizona Constitution are being threatened by the Governor and the Attorney General," said President Petersen. "It's incredibly disturbing to see them unwilling to enforce the law and are siding with the most vile individuals convicted of carrying out the most heinous crimes in our state. Furthermore, the Executive Branch is clearly undermining the very foundation of separation of powers by attempting to override the statutory process adopted by the Legislature and affirmed by the Judiciary. This is a dangerous precedent to set by our newly elected Governor."
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications | Arizona State Senate Republican Caucus email@example.com