U. S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear “Hidalgo vs. Arizona” Re Death Penalty

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U. S. Supreme Court Justice Breyer was joined by Justices Ginsburg,  Sotomayor, and Kagan, in a decision to deny a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari filed on behalf of Abe Hidalgo.  The court’s decision was rendered on Monday, March 19 and essentially affirmed Arizona’s Supreme Court conviction and sentencing of defendant Abel Hidalgo for the 2001 murder of Michael Cordova.  Hidalgo’s petition was filed on the basis of a violation of his 8th Amendment rights under the U. S. Constitution that precludes “cruel and unusual punishment.”  The petition asked the court to decide “Whether Arizona’s capital sentencing scheme, which includes so many aggravating circumstances that virtually every defendant convicted of first-degree murder is eligible for death, violates the 8th Amendment.”

Death penalty opponents were hopeful this case might be “the judicial vehicle” that would lead to the abolishment of the death penalty throughout the U.S.  The “unusual” wording in the Supreme Court’s decision offered some guidance for defendants filing similar cases in the future.  The New York Times classified the death penalty as “a savage, racially biased, arbitrary and pointless punishment that becomes rarer and more geographically isolated with every year.”

Click here to review article published in the National Catholic Reporter