Our Community. Our Nation. Our World.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Arkansas Rushes Death Penalty For 7 Inmates

The eight Arkansas death-row inmates scheduled for execution this month. Jason McGehee, bottom row on the left, had his execution stayed by a judge this week. (AFP Photo/Getty Images/Arkansas Department of Correction)
The eight Arkansas death-row inmates scheduled for execution this month. Jason McGehee, bottom row on the left, had his execution stayed by a judge this week. (AFP Photo/Getty Images/Arkansas Department of Correction)

With guest host Jane Clayson.

Arkansas says it will execute seven death row inmates by the end of the month. Why the rush? The lethal injection drugs are set to expire. We’ll look at the controversy.

Arkansas hasn’t executed an inmate since 2005, but that’s about to change. Seven men put to death over the next ten days.  That’s two a day, every other day. Why? The drug used in lethal injections is set to expire. Lawyers for the condemned say the rush undermines due process. Victims’ families say they’ve waited long enough. This hour On Point, Arkansas multiple execution plan and its message for the nation.

Guests

Janelle Lilley, weekend anchor and reporter for KATV in Little Rock, Arkansas. ( @katvjanelle)

Diann Rust-Tierney, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Former director of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. ( @Diannatncadp)

Nathan Smith, deputy prosecuting attorney for the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney in Benton County, Arkansas.

From The Reading List

Washington Post: With lethal injection drugs expiring, Arkansas plans unprecedented seven executions in 11 days — “Though the death penalty has been dormant in Arkansas — these would be the first executions there in 12 years — the lethal injections have put the state at the center of the debate about capital punishment as it becomes less common in the United States. Fewer states are putting condemned inmates to death, public support for executions is declining and authorities are struggling to find the drugs used in lethal injections amid a shortage spurred in part by drugmakers’ objections to the death penalty.”

USA Today: Stop the execution madness in Arkansas — “In my home state of Arkansas, plans are underway for a spectacular legal train wreck starting next week. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed death warrants to execute eight men in 10 days, something not even Texas, with its vaunted assembly line, has ever attempted. Indeed, no death-happy state has ever dreamed of eight kills in such a short time.”

The Marshall Project: My Execution, 20 Days Away — “When you’re issued a date, you want to be the first to break the news to your family. But often the press gets to them first. For the prisoner, as the fatal day approaches, the hardest part is knowing you’ve condemned your loved ones to a bitter fate. Once you depart, they have to carry on.”

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.