Death row inmates challenge Ariz. death penalty law

A major issue is taking center stage in superior court on Friday. A judge will hear arguments challenging how the death penalty is applied to cases in Arizona.

More than two dozen Arizona death row inmates have come together hoping that their lawyers can argue to have the death penalty taken off the table in their cases.

Death row inmates say the law is unconstitutionally arbitrary. Their reasoning is that under Arizona law, there are 14 aggravating factors listed to apply capital punishment.

The prosecution only has to allege at least one of those factors to seek the death penalty as a possible punishment.

Opponents say with that many options, nearly all first degree murder cases fit under just about every factor, leaving more defendants eligible for the death penalty.

The suit cites a 1972 ruling in which the US Supreme Court said the state's laws must distinguish between cases for which a death sentence can be sought and ones that can't.

The hearing will be held at 1:30 p.m.

It's not clear what will happen to all the death row cases in Arizona if they judge rules that the law in unconstitutional.
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