Alcorn and the Honorable Robert L. Gottsfield, a special assignment judge trying criminal cases in Maricopa County Superior Court, wrote "The Capital Case Crisis in Maricopa County: What (Little) We Can Do About It."
They presented statistics that the number of pending capital cases in the court grew from 88 in fiscal year 2004 to 123 in fiscal year 2008. That increase is attributable to dramatic shifts in the legal rules on capital cases, the increase in the number of new capital cases filed in fiscal year 2006 (41), and insufficient judicial, prosecutorial and indigent defense resources for processing cases, according to the authors.
"Our goal is to bring home to the reader the complexity of preparing and trying capital cases and the knowledge required of those who participate in them," Gottsfield and Alcorn wrote. "In that way, we hope to illustrate why capital case litigation takes so long."
Part 2 of the article, dealing with process participants, mitigation and victims rights, is scheduled to be published in May. To read Part 1, click here .