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Arkansas judge strikes down the state’s lethal injection method

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A group of death row inmates won a US court ruling temporarily blocking executions in Arkansas until the southern state’s legislature specifies which barbiturate drug should be used in lethal injections.

Friday’s decision was the latest chapter in a growing controversy on lethal injection drugs in states that practice the death penalty.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen pointed to an “absence of guidelines” in Arkansas’s 2013 law on execution procedures, adding that it “didn’t fix all the flaws that were in the previous law,” according to Jeff Rosenzweig, a lawyer for the death row inmates.

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The law orders prison authorities to use a barbiturate when conducting executions, without specifying which one, and fails to indicate what type of training necessary for staff who administer lethal injections.

The inmates said the law violated their rights under the US Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, which protects against “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Arkansas, which has not put an inmate to death since 2005 and has 298 prisoners on death row, has no execution scheduled at this time.

It is among several states weighing changes to execution methods as they face a shortage of the most commonly used anesthetic, pentobarbital, and a growing number of inmate lawsuits.

European manufacturers have refused to supply the drug to put people to death and US prison authorities have instead turned toward different suppliers or products.

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Some death row inmates have filed lawsuits asking courts to stay their executions until authorities can establish that the new products will not make them suffer in violation of their constitutional protections.

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee on Tuesday announced a moratorium on capital punishment, pointing to “too many flaws in the system.”

The Kansas state senate is weighing abolishing the death penalty to replace it with life imprisonment, following the lead of 18 of the 50 US states and the capital Washington.

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[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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Trump made a ‘huge mistake’ talking to reporters about impeachment: Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann

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One of former special counsel Robert Mueller's top prosecutors explained on MSNBC how President Donald Trump made a "huge mistake" on Wednesday.

Andrew Weissmann, who is now an MSNBC legal analyst, was interviewed by Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press Daily."

The former federal prosecutor says Trump committed a blunder by denying a call with a Gordon Sondland staffer.

"Why is that?" Todd asked.

"Because he now can’t rebut it," Weissman replied.

"He has now said I don’t remember that phone call. So you’re going to have Sondland testifying to it. You’re going to have a staffer testifying to it," he explained. "If [Trump] doesn’t like their testimony, he’s going to have to say, 'Oh, now I remember that I didn’t say that.'"

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Republicans want Americans to believe Trump cared deeply — about something he never mentioned

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One of the main points made by Republicans during the House hearings on the impeachment claimed that President Donald Trump cared so deeply about corruption in Ukraine that he was holding back the funding. It wasn't bribery because it was all about legitimate foreign policy, according to Trump and the Republicans in Congress.

Their greatest problem is that Trump has never held back speaking out about something he cared for. As the Washington Post noted, the argument doesn't stand up.

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‘He can’t understand why what he did is wrong’: George Conway says Trump is incapable of being president

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Prominent Republican attorney George Conway ripped President Donald Trump on MSNBC on Wednesday.

Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, spent his day with MSNBC to provide live analysis on the first day of televised impeachment hearings.

"It’s also striking, George, that every defense falls apart almost before the end of a single news cycle," anchor Nicolle Wallace reported. "Everything that people have said in an effort to defend him has collapsed under the weight of the president’s conduct."

"What we just heard the president say is delusional," Conway replied. "And it’s debilitating."

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