State responds to motion for stay of Jack Greene's execution | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

State responds to motion for stay of Jack Greene's execution

Posted By on Tue, Nov 7, 2017 at 11:34 AM

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today responded to a request by attorneys for a stay of Jack Greene's execution Thursday.

She says Greene, by his own assertion, is competent to be executed and attorneys seeking to stop the process have offered insufficient evidence to the contrary. Her filing describes Greene's request as a delaying action and distinguishes it from an execution delayed for Bruce Ward, who IS contesting his competency and who has some evidence to offer in favor of his success at getting a court to agree.

Rutledge opens her motion with, as has become customary in her Death Row pleadings, a detailed description of the crime of which Greene has been convicted (and no one disputes his guilt.)

As this Court previously concluded, “butchery and torture” does not even come close to describing the “macabre horror” that Jack Greene inflicted on Sidney Burnett. Not content to simply murder 69-year-old Burnett, Greene “bound Sidney Burnett’s hands, feet, and mouth,” and over an extended period of time, Greene beat Burnett “with a can of hominy,” stomped him, and cut him “from mouth to ear” before “ultimately [shooting] him in the chest and in the head.”

Rutledge faults Greene's attorney for a delay in seeking a review after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case.  She cites Green's own writing,  and objection to his attorneys' request for a delay, as evidence of his competency.  She said Greene's attorneys hadn't demonstrated a "threshold" of incompetency that merits an independent hearing beyond the determination of the state correction department director that he is competent to be executed.

Here's Rutledge's filing.

UPDATE (1:42 p.m.):

Lawyers for Jack Greene have responded.

They, again, assert that the case IS similar to Ward, even if Greene does not believe he is incompetent. Their chief point is that — as with Ward — the laws around who determines competency for a death row inmate have changed after new U.S. Supreme Court rulings. While the prison director's role in carrying out both the execution and determining competency has been upheld by the Arkansas Supreme Court in the past, new rulings that require a prisoner to not just be competent but also have a "rational understanding" of why they are being executed could change the constitutionality of such a rule. (This rule is codified as 16-90-506 in Arkansas, to you help you understand the below quote.)

"Perhaps corrections officials were capable of assessing factual understanding when that was thought to be the constitutional standard. They are not capable of making the nuanced evaluations necessary to determine rational understanding," the complaint reads. "Though Kelley focuses on the likelihood that Greene will ultimately prove he is incompetent, the issue before this Court is whether Ark. Code Ann. § 16-90-506(d) is unconstitutional....The Court found this to be a bona fide constitutional question when it stayed Bruce Ward’s case, and it remains a bona fide constitutional question today."

You can read their filing here.

ALSO: Judge Mackie Pierce ordered the state Correction Department to provide a drug manufacturer's label for the midazolam sedative to be used in Thursday's execution. An FOI suit by a Little Rock lawyer is forcing the state to provide the label. Judge Pierce said he'd decide at a hearing whether any information on the label should be redacted from public view. The state wants no clues given about the drugs being used for fear it will make it even more difficult to obtain killing drugs. Drug manufacturers don't want their drugs used in executions. The state has found means outside normal channels to obtain them.

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