Supreme Court Allows Arizona to Execute Death Row Inmate


The Supreme Court reinstated the death sentence of Arizona inmate Danny Lee Jones Thursday, overturning a lower court ruling that granted him a new hearing for the 1992 murders of two people.

Jones had argued his Sixth Amendment right to have adequate representation by his lawyer was violated during the sentencing phase of his trial. He asserted his lawyer inadequately prepared for his sentencing hearing by not introducing crucial information about his state of mind when he committed the murders, reported Courthouse News.

While an appeals court agreed with Jones, the majority of the Supreme Court overturned the ruling, stating the appeals court overstated the impact of the lawyer’s missteps and completely ignored the elements of Jones’ case that warranted his death sentence, the outlet reported.

“When a capital defendant claims that he was prejudiced at sentencing because counsel failed to present available mitigating evidence, a court must decide whether it is reasonably likely that the additional evidence would have avoided a death sentence,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote.

“The absence of such a case strongly suggests that Jones has no reasonable probability of escaping the death penalty.”

Jones killed Robert Weaver and his 7-year-old daughter in 1992 after he and Weaver were drinking and using drugs together.

Jones also attacked Weaver’s grandmother, who later died of the injuries she sustained.

A trial judge convicted him of the two murders and sentenced him to death.

Jones argued in his appeal that his lawyer failed to present evidence that drugs led him to commit the murders, that he was oxygen-deprived at birth, which is linked to serious psychiatric disorders, and that he had a slew of other mental health conditions.

Despite having access to this information, Jones argued that his attorney did not look into his mental health until after he was convicted.

The lower court dismissed his claims, but a unanimous panel on the Ninth Circuit reversed the decision.

Jones is one of 112 inmates on Arizona’s death row.

Safia Samee Ali
Safia Samee Ali
Digital Reporter. Safia Samee Ali covers a range of topics including legal affairs, social policy, and justice. Safia was previously a national journalist at The Messenger and NBC News. She is also a former attorney.

Latest stories


Related Articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Captcha verification failed!
CAPTCHA user score failed. Please contact us!
Continue on app