Arkansas: Deal With Inmates Over Drug Secrecy Not A Contract

Oct 5, 2015

Arkansas' prison system says that an agreement to tell condemned inmates the source of its execution drugs isn't technically a contract and that a judge should dismiss a lawsuit challenging a new death penalty law.

Correction Director Wendy Kelley said in court papers Monday that Arkansas' drug-secrecy law is constitutional. The death row inmates fear the secrecy could lead to cruel or unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. They also said the state, when settling a previous lawsuit, agreed to tell inmates the source of its lethal drugs.

Kelley said the settlement didn't create a contract between the state and the inmates.

A hearing is set Wednesday on an earlier state motion to dismiss the inmates' claims.

Eight inmates are set for execution between Oct. 21 and Jan. 14.