The Arizona Supreme Court today upheld the death sentence issued to Jason Eugene Bush on a 6-1 vote, for his role in the break-in and murders committed by a group of Minutemen militia members near the Arizona-Mexico border in 2009.
|Benjie Sanders/Arizona Star|
Judge Larry Winthrop* concurred that there were no reversible errors by the trial court, but that the death penalty itself is “unconstitutionally cruel” and “unconstitutionally unusual” and therefore should not be imposed.
Writing for the majority, Justice John Pelander called Winthrop’s dissent “odd” and spent the next five pages dissecting it before concluding that there was no basis in this case for determining whether the death penalty is constitutional. (Chief Justice Scott Bales wrote a one-paragraph concurrence echoing that last point.)
Bush was part of a group of Minutemen border militia members who decided to try to fund their organization by robbing and killing drug smugglers. They pretended to be immigration officials and entered the Arivaca home and killed 29-year old Raul Junior Flores and his 9-year old daughter Brisenia. Ringleader Shawna Forde is already on Arizona’s death row.
*Winthrop is a Court of Appeals judge who was sitting on the case due to the recusal by Justice John Lopez.