Maricopa County officials have approved spending up to $4 million to cover post-conviction appeals for defendants facing the death penalty.
That office is charged with representing people sentenced to death.
County spokeswoman Cari Gerchick says the Arizona Supreme Court’s recent decision to lower the required number of attorneys in post-conviction appellate cases from two to one will allow more cases to move through the process.
Gerchick says there was an unprecedented rise in death-penalty cases in recent years. She says many occurred during former County Attorney Andrew Thomas’ term. Thomas was disbarred for ethical misconduct in April.