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    Arkansas:

    Arkansas Is About To Execute 8 Men In 10 Days

    Would more of us care about ending the death penalty if CNN aired an execution by firing squad?

    03/16/2017 12:29 pm ET | Updated 21 hours ago


    Arkansas Online



    Ten days, eight murders. That’s the plan in the works for the state of Arkansas.

    Faced with mounting international sanctions on the export of any products used for the purpose of executions, death-rows across the United States have been forced to become grotesquely creative.

    They’ve tried executions using just a single dose of the sedative pentobarbital, only to discover that the death process is horribly long—20 minutes to a half hour. It’s the same drug that is used to euthanize animals in the United States, but when it is carried out on your elderly cat, protocol mandates that the animal is unconscious before the lethal injection; the state of California actually considers the injection of an animal with pentobarbital while still awake a crime. The same consideration, unsurprisingly, is not extended towards death row inmates.

    Other states are trying to move away from the increasingly hard-to-obtain lethal injection drugs, with bills ranging from reinstating the firing squad (Utah), the electric chair (Tennessee) to bills advocating for the use of a gas chamber (Mississippi, Oklahoma.) Last month, Arizona proposed that prisoners and their advocates bring their own pentobarbital or sodium pentothal to the death chamber, to ensure a smooth execution. And now Arkansas has taken up a rather ambitious plan: they will kill eight men — four black, four white — in the span of 10 days.

    Like many states, Arkansas uses a three-drug cocktail to execute its inmates: the sedative midazolam (best known for its star role in multiple botched executions in recent years), vecuronium bromide to stop breathing, and then potassium chloride to stop the heart.

    On Monday, the Arkansas Department of Corrections spokesman told reporters that the state had just received 100 vials of potassium chloride, and thanks to a law upheld by the Arkansas Supreme Court last year, they don’t have to disclose anything about where they got the drugs, or how much they paid for them.

    This lack of transparency can have disastrous consequences. In 2012, South Dakota executed Eric Robert with a dose of pentobarbital that had been produced by a compounding pharmacy, a service which allows drugs to be made up to order, permitting the buyer to bypass mainstream pharmaceutical suppliers which face stricter regulation. Eric’s eyes opened during the lethal injection itself, a sign that the drug was not working in the way that it was intended. An investigation later revealed that the batch of pentobarbital used to kill him had been contaminated with fungus.

    While we don’t know where Arkansas obtained their drugs, what we do know is that the state will run out of midazolam in April, meaning they have just weeks left to put the drugs to use in tandem. Eight state murders in 10 days.

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    As for televising executions by an means. At first people would most likely be extremely upset (if they chose to watch it), but the more they televised them, the more people will become desensitized to them. IMO.

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    Speedy Execution Pace Is Unconstitutional, Arkansas Inmates Claim in New Suit

    Mar 27 2017, 7:52 pm ET

    Eight men on death row in Arkansas — who are all scheduled [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] — fought for their lives Monday in a federal complaint, claiming the breakneck pace was "cruel and unusual" and "threatened violations of their right to counsel."

    The need for speed comes from the fact that the state of Arkansas' supply of one of the key drugs in their lethal injection cocktail is expiring at the end of April — and it's become increasingly difficult to get more.

    The state's department of corrections was planning to execute two men per day with a few days between each set.

    In court papers, the eight inmates' lawyers argue the rate of executions to be unacceptable and unfair, citing the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution, which deal with "cruel and unusual punishments" and "due process," respectively.

    "The suit challenges the execution schedule," said Federal Public Defender John Williams, who represents three of the inmates. "It's an unprecedented act and we think the pace of the schedule puts our clients at unnecessary risk."

    The complaint states that the executions, set by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to be between April 17 and 27, denies each of the inmates effective counsel — especially since Hutchinson announced the intense schedule on Feb. 27, providing defense attorneys less than 60 days to prepare.

    Lawyers who represent people on death row typically have a nearly insurmountable workload, even when they have only one client, especially as the execution date nears, experts said.

    Arkansas's timetable increases the work, stress and emotional wear the lawyers will face, leaving the inmates with overburdened defenders, the complaint argues.

    "The pace of executions puts an undue pressure on the attorneys," Williams said.

    The drug set to expire in Arkansas — named midazolam — has a [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] that indicates it does not always render the patient comatose, as is intended, which means patients could be awake when they are medically forced to stop breathing or have their hearts stopped. This has caused some states to opt for a even slower rate of executions, in order to avoid accidents.

    "Due to manpower and facility concerns, executions should not be scheduled within seven calendar days of each other," an Oklahoma report of the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] concluded after he woke up in the middle of the procedure.

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    Arkansas plows ahead with plans to execute 7 death row inmates in April

    Published time: 7 Apr, 2017 19:22 - Edited time: 8 Apr, 2017 18:45

    One of the eight inmates scheduled to be executed this month in Arkansas has been given a temporary reprieve, but the state still intends to execute the others before its lethal injection drugs are set to expire, despite protests from activists.

    There are 35 inmates currently awaiting execution in the state, which has not carried out the death penalty since 2005 due to disputes over drugs used in the lethal injection procedure. Governor Asa Hutchinson has ordered that eight executions be carried out before one of the drugs expires at the end of April.

    On Thursday, a federal judge blocked the execution of Jason McGehee, saying that the state needed to allow a 30-day comment period on his clemency application. A parole board has recommended clemency for McGeehee, now 40, sentenced to death for the 1996 torture murder of a teenager.

    US District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr. said he might also rule in favor of inmate Jack Jones, if the parole board recommends clemency for him at a hearing Friday. The board has heard clemency appeals from four other inmates, but decided against them. Marshall ruled that their executions should proceed as scheduled.

    "The victims' families have waited far too long to see justice for their loved ones, and today's decision from Judge Marshall allows all but one of the scheduled executions to move forward,"
    a spokesman for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a statement.

    Meanwhile, federal public defenders filed a motion in Lincoln County Circuit Court arguing that one of the condemned, Bruce Ward, is severely mentally ill and cannot be executed under a federal standard barring cruel and unusual punishment.

    Ward is scheduled to be executed on April 17, the same day as Don Davis. Ledelle Lee and Stacey Johnson would face the executioner on April 20, Marcell Williams and Jack Jones, Jr. would be executed on April 24 and Kenneth Williams on April 27. McGehee was scheduled for April 27 as well, but the judge’s decision will delay his execution until May – after one of the drugs used in lethal injection cocktails officially expires.

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    Arkansas Executions: First Two Men Scheduled to Die Push for Delay

    Apr 12 2017, 9:15 pm ET

    The first two men scheduled to be executed during [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]requested a delay Wednesday, citing the need to wait for the conclusion of a U.S. Supreme Court case.

    Attorneys for death row inmates Don Davis and Bruce Ward have asked the Arkansas State Supreme Court to temporarily stay their executions, scheduled for April 17, until the conclusion of McWilliams v. Dunn, which is playing out in Washington.

    Oral arguments in that case are expected to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 24 and will discuss whether a defendant sentenced to death in Alabama was denied access to an independent expert who could assess their mental health.

    The 1985 case Ake v. Oklahoma first established that the state is required to provide a psychiatric evaluation on behalf of the defendant if he/she desired it, citing the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

    The contemporary case considered by the country's highest court is of particular interest to the two Arkansas inmates because Davis is thought to have an IQ so low that he is intellectually disabled and Ward has a long history of mental illness that includes paranoid schizophrenia.

    Their lawyers argue that they did not have access to an independent mental health expert in preparation for their cases, as is their right.

    "The Court should recall its mandate," the state court filing said, "not only because its previous rulings were flatly contrary to Ake, but also because the Supreme Court will soon decide that question. To execute Don Davis or Bruce Ward before that question is answered would deeply offend 'the integrity of the judicial process.'"

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    The 8 inmates Arkansas was set to execute starting Monday

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Apr 17, 2017, 1:46 AM ET

    Despite several court rulings that put its plans in jeopardy, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] hopes to go ahead with the executions of six men between Monday and April 27, which would be a pace exceeded only by Texas since the U.S. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] reauthorized the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] in 1976.

    Arkansas initially planned to execute eight inmates before the end of the month, when its supply of a key execution drug expires. But a federal judge halted one execution and the state Supreme Court stayed a second. Another federal judge on Saturday ordered a halt to all of the executions, saying the men have the right to challenge prison procedures that could expose them to "severe pain."

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    Shouldn't the federal judge & SSC be concerned with the "severe pain" the victims and their families went through!
    Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies... By Andy Dufresne/Shawshank Redemption

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    U.S. Supreme Court Denies Arkansas Request to Begin Executions

    by Phil McCausland - Apr 18 2017, 5:38 am ET

    CUMMINS UNIT, Ark. — The United States Supreme Court rejected a request by the state of Arkansas early Tuesday to execute the first prisoner in a tight schedule of eight death sentences it planned to complete before the end of the month.

    The decision was the culmination of a chaotic day of legal arguments, as Arkansas attempts to carry out its first executions in 12 years before its supply of lethal-injection drugs expires at the end of the month.

    The high court gave no explanation for its ruling, but said it would not lift an order made by the Arkansas Supreme Court on Monday to stop the executions of two inmates set to be put to death that night. They were scheduled to be the first of eight people put to death in the space of 10 days.

    The Supreme Court's decision came 10 minutes before the death warrant expired for one of these men, 56-year-old Don Davis.
    Volunteer witnesses had been moved to the execution chamber while local media organizations — who were not allowed pens, paper or any recording devices — waited nearby in prison vans.

    Davis had already been moved to the Cummins Unit — where the lethal injection gurney is located — and he was even given his last meal. In fact, it was his second "last meal," the first coming in 2010 before his execution was stayed at the last minute.

    This time, he ate "fried chicken, rolls, great northern beans and mashed potatoes, fruit punch and strawberry cake for dessert," Solomon Graves, the spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC), said.

    Davis' leftover cake was made available to reporters. Very few pieces were eaten.

    The inmate was sentenced to death in 1990 for killing a 62-year-old woman named Jane Daniel during a burglary at her home in Rogers, Arkansas.

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    Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies... By Andy Dufresne/Shawshank Redemption

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    Arkansas Executes Ledell Lee, State’s First Inmate Put to Death Since 2005

    Apr 21 2017, 6:29 am ET

    CUMMINS UNIT, Ark. — The state of Arkansas executed death row inmate Ledell Lee late Thursday, its first death sentence in more than a decade and the first of four inmates scheduled to die before the end of the month when a crucial lethal injection drug is set to expire.

    The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear five last-minute appeals by Lee's attorneys to stay his execution, which began at 11:44 p.m. CT (12:44 a.m. ET). Lee was pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m., Arkansas Department of Correction Director Wendy Kelly said.

    Lee, 51, was sentenced to death in October 1995 in Pulaski County, Arkansas, for the murder of 26-year-old Debra Reese.

    He declined to make a final statement, officials said. Three media witnesses reported that Lee remained under sedation during the procedure.

    "His last meal request was that he receive communion, and he was given communion this afternoon," Department of Correction spokesman Solomon Graves told reporters.

    Because communion — a bread wafer and a small amount of wine representing the body and blood of Jesus Christ — was not a full meal, the Department of Correction offered to provide a meal on his behalf to the rest of the prison population. Lee declined.

    The execution caps days of legal jostling by Lee's defense lawyers and attorneys for the state of Arkansas over the state's right to use a paralytic as part of its lethal injection cocktail. A court OKd the drug earlier Thursday.

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    Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies... By Andy Dufresne/Shawshank Redemption

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    I have mixed feelings about the death penalty. There have been too many way too many (imo) cases where the person was sentenced to death, but then PROVEN to be innocent.
    Last edited by TrialAddict; 04-21-2017 at 03:07 PM.

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    Arkansas executes two inmates in one night, first state to do so since 2000

    Published April 25, 2017

    Arkansas executed two condemned murderers Monday night, becoming the first state in 17 years to carry out two death sentences in one day.

    Marcel Williams was pronounced dead at 10:33 p.m. Central Time, 17 minutes after the procedure began at the Cummins Unit in southeastern Arkansas. Jack Jones had been put to death more than three hours earlier.

    Williams' execution had been delayed for two hours after a federal judge in Little Rock issued an emergency stay over concerns about how Jones' execution was carried out. Williams' attorneys claimed Jones gasped for air, an account the state's attorney general denied, but the judge lifted her stay about an hour later.

    Initially, Gov. Asa Hutchinson scheduled four double executions over an 11-day period in April. The eight executions would have been the most by a state in such a compressed period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. The state said the executions needed to be carried out before its supply of one lethal injection drug expires on April 30.

    The first three executions were canceled because of court decisions, then inmate Ledell Lee was executed last week.

    Arkansas' last double execution occurred in 1999.

    Jones was sent to death row for the 1995 rape and killing of Mary Phillips. He strangled her with the cord to a coffee pot.

    He was also convicted of attempting to kill Phillips' 11-year-old daughter and was convicted in another rape and killing in Florida.

    Jones said earlier this month that he was ready for execution. He used a wheelchair and he'd had a leg amputated in prison because of diabetes.

    Williams' "morbid obesity makes it likely that either the IV line cannot be placed or that it will be placed in error, thus causing substantial damage (like a collapsed lung)," his attorneys wrote in an earlier court filing asking justices to block the execution.

    Both men were served last meals on Monday afternoon, Arkansas Department of Correction spokesman Solomon Graves said. Jones had fried chicken, potato logs with tartar sauce, beef jerky bites, three candy bars, a chocolate milkshake and fruit punch. Williams had fried chicken, banana pudding, nachos, two sodas and potato logs with ketchup, Graves said.

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    Their deaths were more humane than their victims...
    Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies... By Andy Dufresne/Shawshank Redemption

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