Arkansas Executions 2017

Jack Harold Jones
Department of Correction

The Arkansas Parole Board has recommended the governor move forward with plans to execute one of seven inmates facing lethal injection later this month.

The board on Monday voted 7-0 that the clemency request by Jack Harold Jones Jr. was without merit. The ultimate decision on whether to spare Jones' life rests with Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Jones is one of seven inmates scheduled to die this month. His execution is set for April 24.

Arkansas-born, best selling author John Grisham penned an editorial in USA Today calling for a stop to Arkansas’s plan to kill eight death row inmates from April 17th to 27th. One inmate has a stay on his sentence. 

Arkansas Death Chamber Lethal Injection
Arkansas Department of Correction

Arkansas voters remain firmly committed to the death penalty despite an upcoming quick execution schedule, advances made in DNA testing, and a national trend towards ending the practice.

A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey suggests more than 2-to-1 support for the death penalty versus life without parole.

Q: Do you support the death penalty, or should the state of Arkansas make life without parole the maximum prison sentence for capital offenses?

61% Support death penalty
29% Life without parole
10% Don’t Know

A federal judge has granted an injunction in the execution of Jason F. McGehee, one of the eight Arkansas inmates scheduled to be executed later this month.

Marshall denied requests for injunctions for five other condemned men whom the parole board did not recommend clemency.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has denied requests to stay the executions of two death row inmates scheduled to die this month. The court denied requests from inmates Stacey Johnson and Ledell Lee. The court’s orders relate to the inmates’ post-conviction appeals process.

Death penalty laws are on the books in 31 states, but only five carried out executions last year. Now Arkansas is rushing to execute death row inmates at an unprecedented pace this month, before the state's supply of lethal drugs expires.

"It's punishment. We are going to take a person who's helpless and we're going to kill him. Why? Because he deserves it," says New York Law School professor Robert Blecker on the death penalty.

Blecker is the author of The Death of Punishment: Searching for Justice Among the Worst of the Worst.

Rex Nelson
Jacob Slaton / Clinton School of Public Service

What's it like inside the Arkansas Governor's Mansion as executions are carried out? As the state prepares to resume executions after a 12 year hiatus, with eight inmates scheduled to die by lethal injection this month, KUAR reached out to someone who has inside knowledge.

While courts can certainly intervene, before the execution process begins, the governor is asked by prison officials one final time whether to proceed.

Jason McGehee
Department of Correction

Arkansas' parole board is suggesting that Gov. Asa Hutchinson extend mercy to one of eight inmates scheduled to die in a series of double-executions this month.

The Republican governor is not bound by the board's recommendation Wednesday that he spare Jason McGehee's life. The 40-year-old inmate was convicted of killing a teenager who had told police about a theft ring operating in far northern Arkansas.

 A lawyer for Arkansas death row inmates scheduled for execution later this month is arguing the state's accelerated timeline is subverting the state's clemency hearing protocol, functionally eliminating a public input period for the condemned men.

Public defender Julie Vandiver made that argument today inside federal Judge D.P. Marshall Jr.'s courtroom in Little Rock.

  Meanwhile, the state Supreme Court today stayed a lower court's ruling that the Arkansas Department of Corrections must release information about the drugs expected to be used in the executions.

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