Arkansas Executions 2017

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.

Arkansas is set to conduct four double executions over ten days this month. That's already an unprecedented rate and in some states, like Oklahoma, double executions aren't even allowed.

In part two of our conversation with Sean Murphy, who covers executions for the Associated Press out of Oklahoma, Karen Tricot Steward talks to him about witnessing the highly-publicized botched execution of Clayton Lockett. That execution used the same controversial sedative Arkansas will use and put an end to back-to-back killings in that state. 

Controversy continues over Arkansas's rush to conduct four double executions in four days this month.

One issue raising concern is the use of the common sedative midazolam, marketed under the trade name Versed. The drug has been tied to botched executions where inmates wake up during the procedure. Some states have stopped using it altogether for lethal injections.

KUAR News spoke with Sean Murphy in Oklahoma, who covers executions for the Associated Press. He witnessed the highly-publicized botched execution of Clayton Lockett in 2014.

Arkansas Plans Rapid Execution Schedule

Apr 2, 2017

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Arkansas prison officials have asked the state's highest court to stay a judge's order that they must disclose more information about one of the drugs they plan to use in the executions of eight men over a 10-day period in April.

The attorney general's office on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to issue a stay of Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen's order requiring Arkansas to release copies of the package insert and labels for its supply of potassium chloride, one of the three drugs used in its lethal injection protocol.

A lawyer is trying to obtain information about the drugs Arkansas will use in an unprecedented run of executions next month, but prison officials say the information is a secret they must keep.

Steven Shults was in court Thursday seeking the drugs' packing labels. The prison officials say that, after The Associated Press previously used labels to identify drugmakers, they will no longer distribute them.

A report released on Thursday by one of the nation’s top law schools concludes the state of Arkansas has ignored the mental states and legal representation of eight death row inmates scheduled to die next month. It’s the latest wrinkle in the state’s drive to kill eight inmates in 10 days.

Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen
PBS

An Arkansas judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the state's lethal injection law, the latest setback for efforts to block the state's unprecedented plan to conduct four double executions over a 10-day period next month.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen granted the state's motion Tuesday to dismiss the lawsuit filed by eight inmates facing lethal injection next month. Griffen said he has no jurisdiction over the case after the state Supreme Court upheld the lethal injection law and protocol.

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