Join Date: Oct 2001
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Gov. Napolitano's recent vetos: effect on CCW & govt bldgs
Bill seeking new trial for Harold Fish gets vetoed
By HOWARD FISCHER
Capitol Media Services
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
PHOENIX -- Harold Fish won't be getting a new trial -- at least not because of a bill that applies retroactively to his second-degree murder conviction in Coconino County.
Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed a bill Monday that sought to clarify year-old changes in self-defense laws to make it easier for some people facing murder charges to get acquitted.
Other bills vetoed by Napolitano on Monday include:
-- allowing the Arizona Corporation Commission to review any efforts by railroads to construct new rail yards on land they acquire by eminent domain or by auction from the state. The agency also would have been able to force railroads to study impacts their plans would have and consider alternate sites.
-- requiring government agencies to provide individual storage for weapons brought by people to government building;
-- extending the time before an election to fill congressional vacancies;
-- having the state Board of Education decide when credits can be transferred between charter and regular public schools.
Monday's actions -- the last day she had to review bills from this legislative session -- brings her total vetoes to 22. She also signed 295 measures and let two others become law without her signature.
Napolitano's veto of the changes in self-defense law is the second time she has rejected this type of measure.
Until last year anyone who claimed they were justified in killing or injuring someone else had to prove that to a jury. The 2006 law said once a person says they acted in self defense the burden falls on prosecutors to prove otherwise. This measure came about because judges have said the change does not affect those who were arrested before the law took effect.
That left out at least two high-profile cases: Harold Fish who was convicted of shooting and killing a hiker in Coconino County, and David Rene Garcia awaiting trial in the death of another man in Pima County.
But Napolitano said it also would affect many other cases, many of which already have been decided by juries.
"Any bill that would force the retrial of a serious criminal and force the victims of the crime to again relive their experience must be viewed with great skepticism,'' the governor wrote in her veto message.
The railroad bill is a direct response to efforts by Union Pacific to build a 6-mile-long switching yard near Picacho Peak on land it wants to acquire from the state. Foes have raised questions about everything from visual appearance to the possibility of train cars polluting the underground water supply.
Union Pacific also wants to double the entire length of its main line through Arizona, and, at least at one point, was weighing a new spur through Yuma to the Mexican border.
The measure, while giving the commission the right to force studies, would not have allowed the regulators to force the railroads to abandon their plans or even move them elsewhere.
But Rep. Jonathan Paton, R-Tucson, said he believes the pressures brought by a public hearing process would force railroads to rethink unpopular decisions.
The governor said the measure is illegal.
"While railroads must use their eminent domain authority responsibly, the fact remains that railroads are regulated primarily, if not exclusively, at the federal level,'' she wrote. Napolitano also suggested she did not want to get into a fight with the railroads, at least not at this point.
The governor said the state is going to be pushing for things like commuter rail between cities and more efficient delivery of commodities like ethanol, saying this law "would only complicate those efforts.''
The gun measure is an outgrowth of existing laws which ban people from carrying weapons into public buildings if the government agency holds those guns for safekeeping. This measure would go a step farther and require individual storage -- with the owner having the key -- a provision foes said could result in people being able to keep their weapons if there were not sufficient places for storage.
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