WHAT IT IS
- Arkansas is attempting to execute seven death row inmates over a span of 10 days in April.
- If the executions are carried out, they would be the first for Arkansas since 2005.
- Arkansas governor, Asa Hutchinson, maintains that he had to approve the execution schedule due to an upcoming expiration date for midazolam.
WHY IT MATTERS
The issue in Arkansas is indicative of a nationwide concern: Is the death penalty effective enough to compensate for issues of wrongful conviction and mentally impaired individuals? Several studies over the past few decades have indicated capital punishment is an ineffective deterrent, which raises the question of necessity for capital punishment. If it’s an ineffective deterrent, is it worth wrongfully convicting someone or executing someone with an intellectual disability?
WHERE WE ARE NOW
- The decision to stay Davis’ and Ward’s executions does not apply to the five other inmates this month.
- Davis and Ward received stays of execution after citing the need to wait for the conclusion of the U.S. Supreme Court Case, McWilliams v. Dunn. Oral arguments will discuss inmates’ rights for an expert to assess their health.
- Lawyers for Davis and Ward claim their clients are too mentally impaired to face capital punishment.
- Issues of DNA testing will possibly delay executions for Stacey Johnson and Ledell Lee.
- April 24, 2017: Arkansas executed two men in one night: Jack H. Jones Jr. and Marcel Williams.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
- What lower level problems need to be addressed in order to prevent complications with death penalty cases?
- Should the Supreme Court intervene in state executions?