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Request to block execution cites clemency issue

An Arizona death-row inmate is asking the state Supreme Court to block his execution Wednesday so a lower court can consider whether the inmate’s rights to a fair clemency hearing have been violated.

Attorneys for inmate Samuel Villegas Lopez cite a trial judge’s ruling Monday that Lopez may not have received a fair shot at a clemency hearing because of questions of whether the state clemency board is legally constituted.

The judge scheduled a July hearing on whether newly appointed board members needed to have required training before hearing clemency cases and whether one had the required qualification of demonstrating an interest in corrections before being appointed.

Lopez is scheduled to be executed at a state prison in Florence for the 1986 murder of 59-year-old Estefana Holmes of Phoenix.

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