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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Arkansas judge strikes secrecy portion of execution law

LITTLE ROCK — An Arkansas judge struck down a portion of the state's execution law that keeps secret the source of drugs it uses, saying Thursday that drug suppliers do not have a constitutional right to be free from criticism.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen sided with death row inmates who challenged a law passed by lawmakers this year that prevents disclosure about the drugs that are used in executions.

The judge also ordered the state to disclose drug details, including the makers and suppliers, by noon Friday.

"It is common knowledge that capital punishment is not universally popular," Griffen wrote. "That reality is not a legitimate reason to shield the entities that manufacture, supply, distribute, and sell lethal injection drugs from public knowledge."

Judd Deere, a spokesman for Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, said late Thursday that the office had filed notice of appeal with the state Supreme Court. 

Rutledge also asked for an immediate stay of Griffen's order.

"Attorney General Rutledge has a duty to defend the State's lethal injection statute and disagrees with Judge Griffen's order," Deere wrote in an emailed statement.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the judge's decision was "troubling" because the drug suppliers were assured confidentiality, "so a sale was accomplished based upon that law and that promise of confidentiality."

"There's already a stay of the executions at issue by the court and so I can't see any necessity for the immediate disclosure of that information," he said.

Source: The Associated Press, December 3, 2015

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