Death sentence thrown out by the Arizona Supreme Court because of jury's misunderstanding
Arizona: In the week of June 23, the Arizona Supreme Court ordered a new trial for a man sentenced to death on the grounds of a mistrial. In March of 2001, Shawn Lynch was charged with robbing and murdering James Panzarella. Lynch's first trial ended in hung jury, but the second sentenced him to death. However, in the state of Arizona, in order for the death sentence to be passed, the crime must consist of at least one aggravating factor found on a list in the state statutes. The jury, in Lynch's case, decided that the crime did include a number of aggravating factors, of which the state Supreme Court did not dispute; but it did, however take issue with the way judge instructed the jury to consider aggravating descriptors. Though the murder conviction stands, the case has been sent back to the Maricopa County Superior Court.