Capital Post-Conviction Relief Court

The most serious sentence a convicted person can receive in Arizona is the death penalty. The termination of a person's life cannot be taken lightly; therefore Arizona has established a number of procedures to ensure a person did not wrongfully receive a death sentence. One of the procedures is post-conviction relief.

Appeal & Post-Conviction Relief Proceedings


Following the trial, the defendant will receive a direct appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court. At the conclusion of the appellate process, the defendant may initiate post-conviction relief proceedings in the trial court.

The issues a defendant may raise in a post-conviction relief proceeding is whether the trial attorney provided effective representation during the sentencing and trial or whether there is newly-discovered evidence that would have changed the verdict or sentence had it been presented at the time of the hearing or whether a change in the law that applies retroactively would probably change the conviction or sentence.

Unit Composition & Services


The Post-Conviction Relief Unit consists of three attorneys, a legal secretary, an investigator and a mitigation specialist. The unit staff works collaboratively to:
  • File original motions
  • Orate in court
  • Re-interview witnesses
  • Read transcripts
  • Review the trial attorneys' preparation

Last Hope


The unit scrutinizes all information so they are able to address issues that may have prevented the defendant from receiving Due Process. Post-conviction relief is the last hope in the state system for those facing death.