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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' Highest Court Orders Release of Execution Drug Labels

Midazolam
Arkansas' highest court has ruled state prison officials must identify the manufacturer of one of the lethal injection drugs they plan to use to put a convicted murderer to death next week.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Latest on Arkansas' planned execution of convicted murderer Jack Greene on Nov. 9 (all times local):

1:25 p.m.

Arkansas' highest court has ruled state prison officials must identify the manufacturer of one of the lethal injection drugs they plan to use to put a convicted murderer to death next week.

The state Supreme Court on Thursday upheld part of a lower court's ruling ordering the Department of Correction to release the labels for its supply of midazolam, one of three drugs Arkansas uses in its lethal injection process. The court said the labels must be released, but said a Pulaski County judge must determine what identifying information other than the manufacturer can be withheld.

A Pulaski County judge in September ordered the state to release the labels without any information withheld, but justices halted that ordered while the state appealed. Arkansas law keeps the supplier of its execution drugs secret.

11:19 a.m.

A lawyer for an Arkansas death row inmate set for execution next week is telling a judge that the state's prisons director doesn't have the expertise to decide whether the man should live or die.

Jack Greene's lawyers say doctors should have a greater say on whether Greene understands why he is to be executed. Arkansas law gives the prisons chief's opinion considerable weight.

Television station KATV reported Greene and lawyer John Williams were in Jefferson County Circuit Court on Thursday hoping to stop the Nov. 9 execution. Assistant attorney general Kathryn Henry said any change in the law should come from legislators.

If Greene receives a lethal injection next week, it would be Arkansas' first execution since it put four men to death in an eight-day period in April.

Source: The Associated Press, November 2, 2017


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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