For Immediate Release: September 29, 2008
Contact: Jim Sharpe
County Attorney Candidate Tim Nelson Deceives Media, Public; Fails to Disclose That He Fought Death Penalty for Convicted Double Murderer
PHOENIX, AZ – SEPTEMBER 29, 2008 – ACLU lawyer Tim Nelson has been campaigning for Maricopa County Attorney for months. He says he’s tough on crime. He even says he’s for the death penalty. He has deceived just about everyone. Until today.
Jose Ceja brutally murdered a Phoenix couple. He shot the wife two times in the chest before dragging her to another room and shooting her four more times in the head. He shot the husband four times. He kicked the victims as they lay dead or dying. He later threatened to kill his own wife.
Ceja was convicted and sentenced to the death penalty.
Nelson volunteered to represent Ceja, and to fight his death sentence even though Ceja’s own wife wanted him put to death.
Nelson argued that Ceja had already endured “torture” by spending so much time on death row. He said the death penalty wasn’t warranted after Ceja had allegedly exhibited his “non-violent behavior by living without incident on death row,” and with “honor and dignity.”
This, despite Ceja’s wife reporting publicly that he had threatened to kill her from death row. This, despite Department of Corrections records listing 18 disciplinary actions for Ceja including “throwing objects” and “rioting.”
“There’s a reason Tim Nelson has received a record amount of contributions from lawyers representing Valley criminals. He’s one of them. And he’s deceived the public about his position on the death penalty,” County Attorney Thomas said.
“Whether it’s his ties to the ACLU, criminal defense attorneys, support for sweetheart plea bargains, opposition to illegal immigration crackdowns or advocacy for murderers like Jose Ceja there can be no doubt that my opponent is far more sympathetic to criminals than I,” Thomas said.
“Additionally, his sanctimonious and tardy interest in domestic violence issues is belied by his representation of a person committing heinous acts against women,” Thomas concluded.
Thomas said his campaign would prominently feature Nelson’s opposition to the death penalty in future advertisements, including his first one which he debuted at the Monday press conference.
Joining the Thomas press conference at the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association were:
*Duane Lynn — Duane’s wife Nila and another woman were murdered in Maricopa County at a homeowner’s association meeting about 8 years ago. He was also a highway patrolman with DPS for 20 years.
*Sally and Jim Goelzer — Sally’s brother was murdered in November of 1995. A man had tried to carjack him but failed. The perpetrator was found, and Sally’s brother was murdered pending trial.
*Michelle Macklin — Michelle’s sister Nicole Traxler was murdered in Scottsdale on Mother’s Day 2006 by Thomas Bliven as Nicole’s 12 year-old son hid in a closet. Bliven later killed himself. Thomas helped Macklin with a bill that passed in 2007 that makes prisoners who are convicted of offenses while incarcerated serve the sentences consecutively.
*Steve Rader—His son was murdered by his ex-wife’s boyfriend. The perpetrator was convicted.