State Supreme Court strikes down law on chemical executions | Arkansas Blog

Friday, June 22, 2012

State Supreme Court strikes down law on chemical executions

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 9:20 AM

The Arkansas Supreme Court today agreed with a circuit court and said the legislature had "abdicated its responsibility" in giving the Arkansas Correction Department "unfettered" discretion over execution procedures, including choice of chemicals to be used in lethal injections.

Here's the decision in the case brought by Death Row inmates.

The Supreme Court said that a lower court's effort to cure problems with the statute by striking certain portions of the language pertaining to use of "any other chemical" had failed to make it constitutional. The section was not severable, the court said. This leaves it to the legislature to pass a constitutional statute governing executions, a decision that means a continued delay in executions in Arkansas. The legislature meets in 2013. Gov. Mike Beebe said he wouldn't call a special session to deal with the issue.

“The death penalty is still the law in Arkansas, but the Department of Correction now has no legal way to carry out an execution until a new statute is established,” Beebe said. Beebe will meet with legislators and the attorney general about solutions. The law that was struck down was passed in 2009. A 1983 execution procedures law had been used successfully.

A prosecutor in Fort Smith, invoking the spirit of Hanging Judge Parker, said he wants action right now to provide for "certainty" of punishment, even though the ruling doesn't invalidate the death penalty.

Arkansas currently has 40 men on Death Row. The last execution was Nov. 28, 2005. The lawsuits over execution practices have stopped them since, along with other usual appeals.

The court did lift an injunction on obtaining sodium thiopental from illegal sources because the lawsuit had only argued against use of previously obtained supplies of the drug. They have been destroyed and the issue is moot, the court said.

Justices Karen Baker and Byron Freeland dissented from the 4-2 ruling (Justice Donald Corbin didn't participate). Baker wrote that Arkansas is the only state with legal executions that has found such a separation of powers violation, though other states also have delegated execution procedural powers to correction officials.

Tags: , , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The suffering children's open line

    Until it's fixed, nobody is doing enough to resist the Trump administration's cruel and thoughtless handling of asylum-seeking children.
    • May 27, 2018
  • Arming teachers: An insurance complication

    Gun lovers in the Arkansas legislature are spoiling to put more guns in classrooms at the earliest opportunity. Today, the Washington Post reports a complication — from insurance companies.
    • May 27, 2018
  • Razorbacks plan a return to real grass in 2019

    I don't know why the news of a return to real grass at Razorback stadium seemed like such good news to me. Old fogey, I guess.
    • May 27, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • The inspiring Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton's campaign for president illustrates again the double standard applied to women. Some writers get it. They even find the supposedly unlikable Clinton inspiring.
    • Oct 16, 2016
  • ADEQ denies C&H Hog Farm permit

    The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has denied a new permit for the C&H Hog Farms' concentrated animal feeding operation near Mount Judea (Newton County). This is a big and somewhat surprising victory for critics who have viewed C&H's large-scale pig farm and the pig waste it generates as an existential threat to the Buffalo National River.
    • Jan 10, 2018
  • UPDATE: Hutchinson moves to cover himself on cut to War Memorial Stadium

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson apparently felt the burn from KARK's exclusive Tuesday night on his plans to cut state support of War Memorial Stadium in half beginning July 1, 2018. He has a so-far secret plan to make the stadium self-sustaining. We bet that doesn't include state support.
    • Oct 20, 2016

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation