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America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

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With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

Arkansas governor sets execution dates for 8 inmates

Executions have been set for (top row, from left) Kenneth Williams, Jack Jones Jr., Marcell Williams, Bruce Earl Ward, and (bottom row, from left) Don Davis, Stacey Johnson, Jason McGehee and Ledelle Lee.
Executions have been set for (top row, from left) Kenneth Williams,
Jack Jones Jr., Marcell Williams, Bruce Earl Ward, and (bottom row, from
left) Don Davis, Stacey Johnson, Jason McGehee and Ledelle Lee.
LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has set execution dates for eight death row inmates, even though the state lacks one of three drugs needed to put the men to death.

According to copies of proclamations given to the secretary of state's office Monday, the state will conduct the executions in pairs on four days between April 17 and April 27.

However, it remains unclear if the Department of Corrections is capable of conducting executions, as one of the three drugs in Arkansas’ current protocol expired last month.

A prisons spokesman said Monday the state's supply of potassium chloride has not changed since it expired last month. 

He also said he was not aware of any efforts to find another batch.

Arkansas hasn't executed an inmate since 2005.

Ongoing attempts to carry out executions in the state have been halted in recent years by court challenges and difficulty obtaining drugs.

The executions are set to be carried out as followed, according to the governor's proclamation:

  • Don Davis and Bruce Earl Ward are scheduled to die on April 17.
  • Ledelle Lee and Stacey Johnson are scheduled to die April 20.
  • Marcell Williams and Jack Jones Jr. are scheduled to die April 24.
  • Jason McGehee and Kenneth Williams are scheduled to die April 27.


Source: Arkansas Online, February 27, 2017

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