The Easter open line: It's all about death | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Easter open line: It's all about death

Posted By on Sun, Apr 16, 2017 at 5:08 PM

click to enlarge READY AND WAITING: But will Arkansas's killing room be used Monday?
  • READY AND WAITING: But will Arkansas's killing room be used Monday?

Here's the Easter Sunday open line.

Twitter is full of commentary about Executionpalooza. Will the state killing assembly line begin at 7 p.m. Monday or not? How many of the original eight condemned men will be killed if the process does resume and continues over the next 240 or so hours? That's in the hands of appellate courts, which haven't yet sent signals.

Critical is the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. If I had to guess, I'd say even that conservative court would hesitate to jump in and restart executions hours after a district judge issued a 101-page opinion following four extended days of testimony. I'd think, even if they did ultimately reject her findings about the shortcomings of the access to legal counsel in Arkansas and the threat of cruel punishment through a drug injection process that has never been used in Arkansas but has failed other places, that they'd do so only after full and due consideration.

But who knows? Republican legislators are ready to dispense with a hearing and string up Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen for demonstrating against the death penalty. It was a terrible misjudgment on his part given the timing — on the same day he enjoined use of a critical execution drug. But the drug case itself was not frivolous and revealed in detail the dishonest, embarrassing  and perhaps even illegal action by Arkansas to obtain killing dugs. The suit's allegations deserve a wide audience.

As I mentioned earlier, events are being noted worldwide, with criticism from all over. A notable example was Sister Helen Prejean, the Louisiana nun who wrote the book "Dead Man Walking" that became an award-winning movie and opera. I detect from Twitter that the governor's staff is getting touchy about criticism, including from the sister. Below, J.R. Davis is his press aide. Jon Gilmore is a former staffer, now aligned political consultant, who managed his campaign.


That drew these responses:

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Prejean took note of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's deployment of a reported 70 staffers to fight all weekend for death.

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She also rapped Sen. Tom Cotton, who's been over the top on the topic, depicting constitutional issues as nothing but political posturing.

click to enlarge screen_shot_2017-04-16_at_4.47.10_pm.png

click to enlarge screen_shot_2017-04-16_at_4.49.39_pm.png

Much more from the sister on her Twitter account.

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