A lawyer for a man in death row in Arizona is telling the Supreme Court on Tuesday that the jurors of the case were misled to believe that the only way the man would not be freed was through the death penalty.

John Montenegro Cruz was convicted and put in death row in 2003 after being convicted for the murder of Tucson police officer Patrick Hardesty during a deadly hit-and-run incident where Cruz shot the officer five times while attempting to escape, ABC News reported.

His lawyer Neal Katyal is appealing his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming that Arizona had violated the precedent set by Simmons v. South Carolina which gives jurors the right to be informed that they can give a guilty party a life sentence without parole, according to the AP News.

Arizona has refused to comply with Simmons, even after the Supreme Court in 2016 told them directly in Lynch v. Arizona that they need to comply. Katyal and Cruz argued that many would not have voted him into death row had they been informed that he could have life without parole instead.

The court case is believed to be a lot more varied than expected in its reactions, with the divide in the decisions reportedly not going between the three liberal judges and the six conservative judges.

Justice Elena Kagan, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the three liberal judges in the Supreme Court, say that a new penalty phase may need to be given to Cruz where it’s made clear that he would be ineligible for parole if he is given a life sentence.

Meanwhile, conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett expressed surprising sympathy for Cruz’s case against Arizona, saying that the state of Arizona’s perspective on the matter “just seems like hair splitting.”

Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch appears to be voting in favor of Arizona.

Death Row Convict Jury Misled Rep. Pic
The lawyer of a death row convict is arguing in the Supreme Court on Tuesday that the jury of the case was misled after Arizona court did not disclose that a life sentence without parole was an option. This is a representational image. Claire Anderson/Unsplash.

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