Executions Paused by Executive Action

Arizona has been employing capital punishment since 1865, when it was a federal territory. One hundred and four executions were carried out in Arizona before the national moratorium on executions imposed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972. There have been thirty-four executions since. Executions were generally carried out by method of hanging until 1934, when the first execution by gas chamber was carried out. Lethal injection became Arizona’s primary method of execution in 1992. 

Due to the Supreme Court’s 1972 decision, Arizona updated its death penalty statues in 1973. From then until 1991, there were no executions in the state. Eight people have been exonerated from the state’s death row.

In 2011, amid a national lethal injection drug shortage, the Department of Justice informed Arizona that its supply of sodium thiopental was imported illegally. Arizona then transitioned into using pentobarbital and continued to carry out executions. In 2014, Arizona executed Joseph Wood using 15 doses of a two-drug cocktail of midazolam and hydromorphone. It took Wood two hours to die. Following the botched execution of Joseph Wood, a lawsuit challenging the way the state carried out the death penalty was brought forward and a federal judge issued a stay on executions in Arizona.

For more information and ways to get involved, contact your state's organizations:


Arizona Catholic Conference

The Arizona Catholic Conference is the public policy agency for the Diocese of Gallup, the Diocese of Phoenix, the Diocese of Tucson and the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix.

Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona

Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona is a statewide, grassroots membership organization working to end the death penalty in AZ. Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona engages in outreach, education, and advocacy aimed at raising awareness of issues related to the death penalty and mobilizing citizens of Arizona, and their elected officials, to support ending the death penalty.

Arizona Capital Representation Project

The Arizona Capital Representation Project (ACRP) is a non-profit legal resource center dedicated to improving the quality of representation afforded to capital defendants in Arizona.


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