Arkansas angler and fishing expert Billy Murray shares his extensive knowledge of the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas
When I set the eight execution dates in accordance with the law and my responsibilities, I was fully aware that the actions would trigger both the individual clemency hearings and separate court reviews on varying claims by the death row inmates. I understand how difficult this is on the victims’ families, and my heart goes out to them as they once again deal with the continued court review; however, the last minute court reviews are all part of the difficult process of death penalty cases. I expect both the Supreme Court of Arkansas and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decisions quickly, and I have confidence in the Attorney General and her team to expedite the reviews.
I'll be meeting with the attorney general and the Arkansas Department of Correction on Monday to determine next steps.
“It is unfortunate that a U.S. District Judge has chosen to side with the convicted prisoners in one of their many last-minute attempts to delay justice. This decision is significantly out of step with precedent from the Eighth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. Attorney General Rutledge plans to immediately appeal to the Eighth Circuit and ask that today’s injunction imposed by the district court be lifted.”This statement from John C. Williams, one of the federal defenders representing the inmates:
"Today’s ruling is legally sound and reasonable. The unnecessarily compressed execution schedule using the risky drug midazolam denies prisoners their right to be free from the risk of torture. We are calling on state officials to accept the federal court’s decision, cancel the frantic execution schedule, and propose a legal and humane method to carry out its executions.”
The threat of irreparable harm to the plaintiffs is significant: if midazolam does not adequately anesthetize plaintiffs, or if their executions are “botched,” they will suffer severe pain before they die. Defendants argue that plaintiffs “do not meet the standard for irreparable harm because their allegations and evidence of harm are entirely speculative” As this Court finds that plaintiffs have shown a significant possibility that they will succeed on the merits of their method of execution claims based on midazolam, the Court rejects this argument and finds that this factor weighs in favor of granting preliminary injunctive relief.
The Court finds that, at this stage of litigation, plaintiffs have demonstrated a significant possibility that the firing squad is a reasonable alternative. The Court is not finding that the firing squad is a feasible alternative to the Arkansas Midazolam Protocol, it simply acknowledges that plaintiffs have demonstrated that there is a significant possibility of it being so, based on the evidence presented to the Court during its evidentiary hearing.
It would be inequitable under the circumstances for this Court to dismiss this case without hearing evidence on whether the state’s intended use of midazolam would violate the Eighth Amendment. The circumstances are that, within the past week, a “circuit split” appears to have developed on this very issue.Here's the judge's preliminary injunction order.
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And what does the U.S. have that Germany doesn't? A gun for every resident.