Arkansas governor says execution plan just part of the job

Arkansas governor says execution plan just part of the job
Arkansas governor says execution plan just part of the job
Author

25 April, 2017

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said she plans to appeal both court stays.

Midazolam, one of three drugs used in a lethal injection "cocktail." has been criticized for contributing to botched executions in other states. The packed execution schedule and rush to appeal is due to the state's supply of midazolam being on the brink of expiration. Arkansas' supply of one of its lethal injection drugs, midazolam, expires April 30 and Gov Asa Hutchinson said he wants to use the drugs before they spoil.

And he suggested that Arkansas should face no retaliation over his accelerated execution plan because it was hardly at the forefront of states practicing capital punishment. She ordered the state to return on Monday with a revised execution plan.

No state has ever put as many inmates to death in as short a period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. She said that while the state demonstrated it does not plan to torture the inmates, the inmates had a right to challenge the method of execution in an attempt to show it "creates a demonstrated risk of severe pain". But prison officials and state attorneys say waiting now would put the state's death penalty on hold indefinitely.

Arkansas's original packed schedule would place added pressure on the execution team, increasing the risk of error, critics say.

"ADC personnel used an existing medical license, which is to be used only to order products with legitimate medical uses, and irregular ordering process to obtain the Vecuronium via phone order with a McKesson sales person", the brief said.

Arkansas inmates who had been set for execution in a series of double executions this month said Sunday that a federal appeals court should take up their claim that the compressed timetable would violate "evolving standards of decency".

Drugmakers have largely objected to having their products used in executions and have refused to sell to prisons for that objective.

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Actor Johnny Depp greets someone as he walks to the podium to speak at a rally opposing Arkansas' upcoming executions, which are set to begin next week, on the front steps of the Capitol Friday, April 14, 2017, in Little Rock, Ark.

The Associated Press previously determined, using package labels, who made the state's supply of midazolam and vecuronium bromide. A federal judge issued stays for each of the inmates Saturday and a state court judge on Friday blocked prison officials from using a paralyzing drug until he could determine whether Arkansas obtained it properly.

"I understand how hard this is on the victims' families, and my heart goes out to them as they once again deal with the continued court review; however, the last minute court reviews are all part of the hard process of death penalty cases", Hutchinson said in a statement. Under Arkansas' protocol, executioners would administer 100 mg, or more than 11 times the typical dose, five minutes after the midazolam is administered and once the inmate is unconscious.

Critics have contended that the drug does not achieve the level of unconsciousness required for surgery, making it unsuitable for executions.

"We are concerned for the welfare of the prisoners, we are concerned for the victims' families, we are concerned for the welfare of the prison workers that have to do this", said Abraham Bonowitz, director of the New York-based Death Penalty Action group.

This combination of file photos provided by the Arkansas.

In another weekend filing, Rutledge asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to stay the Monday execution of Bruce Earl Ward, whose attorneys argue is a paranoid schizophrenic incapable of comprehending his death.


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