Katie Hobbs Refuses to State Her Position on the Death Penalty, Jokes About Removing Reporter

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) refused to answer a question regarding her stance on the death penalty while speaking with reporters at a recent press conference.

“I don’t necessarily think that’s relevant here. We just want to make sure we’re studying the practices,” Hobbs said in response to the reporter’s request for her stance on the issue.

However, another report pushed the question in an attempt to get an answer from Hobbs.

“The people of Arizona probably have a legitimate question. They want to know where you stand, personally, on the death penalty. Can you tell us,” asked the reporter. However, before Hobbs could respond, one of her staff members interjected.

“She said she’s not going to tell you,” said the staffer, and when the reporter made another attempt to ask the quester, the member shut him down again.

Following the exchange, Hobbs suggested she could remove the reporter. “Don’t make me use this boot,” Hobbs said, smirking.

On Hobbs’s campaign website, she promised to bring “transparency and accountability” to the governor’s office.

The entire press conference was filmed by ABC 15. The meeting came after Hobbs unveiled her fifth Executive Order, which called for an Independent Review Commissioner to examine the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation, & Reentry’s (ADCRR) prisoner execution process. The order stated that the commissioner shall create a final report for the governor and Attorney General Kris Mayes (D), detailing how to improve the “transparency, accountability, and safety” of the execution process.

As reported by The Arizona Sun Times, after Hobbs’s executive order, Mayes announced that her office would be temporarily halting executions in the state until the review could be completed. She claimed similar reviews were conducted in other states, such as Alabama, Ohio, and Tennessee.

At the press conference, Hobbs said the move came because of botched executions that have happened in the state. When asked if executions would return to Arizona, Hobbs said that would be up to Mayes to decide after the investigation.

The Sun Times reached out to the Governor’s and Attorney General’s Office for additional comments but did not hear back.

As part of Mayes’s decision to halt executions, she filed a motion to withdraw a separate motion submitted by former Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) seeking the execution of Aaron Gunches. In 2022, Gunches requested his own death warrant. Gunches is guilty of murdering an ex of his former girlfriend and asked for his death to “give closure to the victim’s family.” However, it is now unclear when or if his request can be granted.

Gunches would have been the fourth inmate to be executed in the state since Brnovich moved to restart the process in 2022. Following the 2014 botched execution of Joseph Wood in 2014, Clarence Dixon was the first inmate executed in the state after an eight-year break. Moreover, Frank Atwood and Murray Hooper were also executed in 2022. All three men were guilty of murders that were carried out decades ago.

There are currently 110 inmates on Arizona’s death row.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Katie Hobbs” by Citizen Free Press.




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