Arizona’s Leading Death Penalty Foes Flock To Nelson for County Attorney Campaign

Note: this is from a Thomas for County Attorney press release

Court, Contribution Records Review Alarming; Lists Provided

Jose Jesus Ceja
Killer Robert “Bonzai Bob” Vickers. Killer Jose Jesus Ceja who was represented by Tim Nelson

Arizona death penalty foes are supporting County Attorney candidate Tim Nelson, and it’s not because they think he will be tougher on crime than current County Attorney Andrew Thomas, or more vigilant in pursuing the death penalty for heinous crimes.

Death penalty opponents are flooding Nelson with massive support (see below) over Thomas because Nelson is one of them.

Nelson defended Jose Ceja who 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 husband as he 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.

Now, a review of Nelson’s campaign contribution reports and various court records show that 12 of the past 23 criminals to be executed since the death penalty was reinstated in Arizona in the 1970s were represented by Nelson contributors.

And Marty Lieberman, founder of the rabid anti-death penalty group Arizona Death Penalty Forum, has contributed the maximum allowable contribution to Nelson as well. Lieberman is well-known as Arizona’s leading voice against capital punishment.

Lieberman’s vitriol to the death penalty is rivaled only by criminal defense attorney Larry Hammond, one of Nelson’s leading campaign fundraisers.

Nelson’s campaign itself has pledged to not seek the death penalty as frequently as Thomas.

Represented by Nelson supporter: Robert Bartels

Represented by Nelson supporter: Michael Patten AND TIM NELSON

Represented by Nelson supporter Dale Baich

Represented by Nelson supporter Michael Kimerer

Represented by Nelson supporter Marty Lieberman

Represented by Nelson supporter Jess Lorana

Represented by Nelson supporter Curtis Ullman

Represented by Nelson supporter Michael Patten (amicus brief)

Represented by Nelson supporter Dale Baich

Represented by Nelson supporter Craig Soland

Represented by Nelson supporter Jess Lorona

Represented by Nelson supporter Daniel Maynard

“There’s a disturbing pattern here. Nelson has fought the death penalty. He has received record amounts of contributions from criminal defense lawyers. And now, a further review of his records shows that a large percentage of attorneys for death row inmates are supporting Nelson, as is the leading voice against the death penalty in Arizona. Nelson is soft on crime, soft on the death penalty and soft on illegal immigration. His election would set-back aggressive prosecution of criminals for years to come,” Thomas said.

Thomas’ campaign is prominently featuring Nelson’s opposition to the death penalty in advertisements.


  1. Antifederalist says

    FINALLY, the SA articles against Tim Nelson are starting to make a little sense. FINALLY SA is making the case that Nelson and his ilk are anti-death penalty. Previously, SA acted as if the accused are all guilty as soon as law enforcement says the accused have committed a crime. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, TRUE small government conservatives need to be suspicious of ALL government, and that includes cops, prosecutors, and judges. Defense attorneys serve as a valid check on government. Defense attorneys, as a group, are not evil as SA seems to like to make them out to be.

    I favor the death penalty, and I also favor the drawn out and expensive series of appeals from death sentences. Why? Because one of the most heinous crimes I can think of is the government depriving the innocent of their lives. I think we NEED a series of appeals to make sure the government dotted all its i’s and crossed all its t’s and found someone guilty PROPERLY and correctly. So, merely attacking Nelson for being supported by defense attorneys just doesn’t pass muster, BUT, being supported by people who oppose the death penalty is a REAL reason to seriously oppose Nelson.

  2. I hope you were wearing rubber gloves while scraping the bottom of this especially grubby barrel….

  3. Antifederalist,
    Rather than lengthy appeals, why does it not just make sense for the government to not murder people.

  4. ArizonaCub says

    Defendants have a right to a lawyer, and it’s the job of their attorney to defend him.

    But what is disturbing is the way the people who represent the slime of humanity are so hot to elect Tim Nelson. It’s clear they think they will have a sympathetic ear in Nelson, which should be very disturbing to law abiding citizens. We don’t want to put someone who is beholden to criminal defense attorneys in charge of prosecuting their clients.

  5. Antifederalist says

    A double negative, eh? i gues thoze Azirona publik skroolz iz edjumakatin’ u gud! Perhaps it’s a typo, I make them all the time, and I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. A double negative makes a positive…so, why does it make sense for the government to put some people to death? Wouldn’t it be better for the government NOT to put convicts to death? And why do it in a lengthy fashion rather than do it quickly?

    I’ll tackle the speed question first. To suggest that a government should put its people to death in a rapid, careless, or haphazard fashion, without regard for the law, is just perverse. I already explained that a long appeals process should ensure that the government doesn’t wrongly convict an individual and should help to ensure that the government followed its own procedure. As I said, there’s not much worse than a government depriving its own citizens of life without an open, fair, and honest legal proceeding.

    As for why governments should put their criminal citizens to death at all, there are some individuals out there that just deserve death. To quote Jane’s Addiction, “[s]ome people SHOULD die! That’s just unconscious knowledge!” Some crimes are so heinous that the perps just don’t deserve to draw breath again, whether it’s more expensive to kill them than to allow them to live out their lives in prison, or not. The BTK killer deserves death. Jon Benet Ramsay’s killer, whoever it may be, deserves death. John Couey, who raped and buried Jessica Lunsford alive, deserves death. Richard Davis, the man who abducted and killed Polly Klass, then made obscene statements and gestures at his sentencing, deserves death. Insert the name of any serial killer, they deserve death too.

    Again, I don’t care if it’s more expensive to execute these individuals than to incarcerate them until they die. I disagree with the notion that allowing them to mull over what they’ve done for the rest of their lives is a more horrible punishment. I also disagree with the Supreme Court that a death penalty for rape is not fitting of the crime. The death penalty should serve as both punishment to the perpetrator and as a deterrent.

  6. Antifederalist, It’s called a litote, look it up. Grownups can use language in many different ways which aren’t constrained by grade school grammar.

    I did forget the question mark, but it was really a rhetorical question anyway.

    The problem with you line of thought is that we can’t ever really be sure of someone’s guilt, even if they confess to a crime, so it seems it would make more sense to not exact a punishment which is not reversible.

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