Arkansas Plans To Carry Out Eight Executions In A Ten Day Span
The deep red state of Arkansas has not executed a death row inmate since convicted murder Eric Nance in 2005. If Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson has his way, that moratorium will end next month. And it will end in a fashion that no state has seen since the return of American capital punishment in 1977. The state is planning a record number of lethal injections in less than two weeks in April. The New York Times reports:
(Hutchinson) signed proclamations last week in his latest effort to restart the state’s capital punishment program, setting four execution dates for the eight inmates on death row, between April 17 and 27. Two men would be put to death on each of the four dates.
The speedy nature of the planned lethal injections is a result of the availability of the life-ending “cocktail” of drugs administered to the condemned inmates. The Times continues:
The hurried schedule appears to be influenced by the expiration of a lethal injection drug in the state’s supply. Arkansas uses three drugs in executions, and its stock of midazolam, the first drug administered, expires in April, the state has said. Its supply of potassium chloride, the final drug in the series, expired in January, but the state has said it was confident it could acquire more.
Many of the 31 states that have capital punishment have struggled of late to obtain the drugs used in executions. Tennessee is unsure that they will have access to them. Arizona, oddly, is allowing attorneys to provide them for their condemned clients. Hutchinson and Arkansas clearly don’t want to find themselves in similar circumstances. Setting aside personal beliefs about the death penalty, however, a schedule of two killings per day can seem unsettling to many, especially the attorneys for the eight men — who have called the timetable “appalling”.
The Daily Mail reports:
Attorneys for the inmates have asked a Pulaski County circuit judge to find the state’s lethal injection law, which keeps the names of its drug suppliers secret, and the three-drug protocol unconstitutional.
Attorneys John C Williams and Jeff Rosenzweig said: ‘The order dissolves the stay but does not end the case and the Arkansas Supreme Court has never rejected our evidence that the state’s chosen execution protocol causes atrocious suffering.
‘We will continue to fight for our clients and to contest this appalling execution schedule.’
Hutchinson is a former congressman who also served as DEA Administrator for President George W. Bush. He initially endorsed Marco Rubio in the 2016 GOP Primary before eventually backing Donald Trump. He was briefly mentioned as a possibly Trump running-mate. Questionable yielding of his powers to implement executions may, unfortunately, only bolster his credentials within the Republican Party.
Featured Photo by Getty Images News
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