Arkansas judge opens hearing on bid to stop 7 executions
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 13, 2017,
Apr 13, 2017, 9:25
One man is diagnosed as bipolar, another as schizophrenic, and two others meet the threshold for intellectual disability.
In spite of a national and state outcry against the eight executions, as well as several lawsuits attempting to delay them, Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson has said that the executions were legally processed and that the inmates had exhausted their legal appeals. The judge stated that he may also rule to stop the execution of Jack Jones if his clemency petition is approved by the Parole Board on Friday, Apr. 7.
For Lockett's execution, the state of Oklahoma used the same three-drug cocktail Arkansas plans to use to carry out seven executions in 11 days. Now, with the ruling by the federal judge, McGehee's reprieve expands into May and past the expiration date of the drug.
U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr. put on hold the execution of Jason McGehee, one of eight inmates who was set to die in an unprecedented series of double executions this month.
Baker, 46, ruled in 2014 that Arkansas' gay marriage ban was unconstitutional.
Lawyers representing the inmates, who face execution from April 17 through April 27 if the state's plan goes through, argue the move would limit their clients' right to counsel and access to the courts. They said that an anesthesiologist who has examined him believes that if the protocol is administered to him, it creates a "substantial risk" that he will experience a prolonged, painful execution, or that he won't die and will be rendered permanently disabled from oxygen deprivation and multisystem organ failure.
Midazolam, the first drug in Arkansas' three-drug lethal injection protocol, can not be used by itself as an anesthetic, an Oklahoma pharmacologist testified Tuesday. Both men are scheduled for execution on April 24, 2017. State officials say the court challenge is a ploy to push the executions to May 1 or later, when they would be effectively stopped because the state's supply of midazolam will have expired. There is an overabundance of animals on death row who need to be put to death.
McGehee and two co-defendants, Christopher Epps and Benjamin McFarland, were convicted of a 1996 murder in Boone County, Arkansas.
Jurors ignored Williams' plea for mercy after his relatives said that his father drank and beat the children and their mother. And they're my brothers and sisters.and I don't want them to have to go through it. While the ABA takes no position on the death penalty itself, it has always been Association policy that executions should only be carried out when a state has ensured sufficient procedural safeguards to decrease the risks of injustice. The United States Supreme Court opted not to hear the case.
MEANWHILE, OTHER states have brought back archaic execution methods.
Klein says in her letter that the short notice for the condemned men has overwhelmed their legal defense teams. On the other hand, 58 percent of black Protestants strongly oppose death penalty. No state has carried out such a condensed spate of executions in the modern era of the death penalty in the U.S., which started in 1976 when the nation's supreme court allowed capital punishment to be revived after a four-year moratorium.
Among the most recent stays by the Supreme Court came in November, when it granted a reprieve to Tommy Arthur in Alabama.
That the state is by now out of practice adds to concerns about whether it can competently carry out an execution, let alone seven, over the scheduled course of four days in an 11-day span.
Only Texas has ever conducted eight executions in a single calendar month since the resumption of the death penalty in 1977, according to Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington D.C. No state has ever executed eight inmates in as few as 10 days.
Jones was convicted of killing bookkeeper Mary Phillips and trying to kill her daughter, Lacy, during a 1995 robbery at an accounting office. "I have no interest in it".