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Maricopa County attorney, Arizona attorney general at odds over execution warrant

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell is trying to get the state’s top court to issue another warrant of execution for a convicted murderer after the previous one expired.

That has put the county attorney at odds with the state attorney general.

In response, Attorney General Kris Mayes released a statement, claiming that only her office holds the power to seek warrants of execution. Mayes contends that power does not translate to the county level, and that she will file a motion to strike the move in the Arizona Supreme Court.

In a court filing, Mitchell contends Arizona law does not grant exclusive power to the attorney general to represent the state in court.

Mitchell is seeking the warrant of execution for Aaron Brian Gunches who was sentenced to death in 2013.

In 2023, Mayes and Gov. Katie Hobbs suspended all executions in Arizona, while an appointee reviewed state execution protocols.

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Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.