Local Lawmakers Address Hurdles To Arkansas’ Death Penalty

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After a botched execution in Oklahoma City, lawmakers are taking a second look the death penalty system in Arkansas.

Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs) said one of the biggest issues in the system is getting the proper drugs needed for lethal injection.

He said once the supplier knows what the drugs are being used for, they pull them off the shelf. The drugs come from European suppliers, many of whom are fundamentally against the death penalty, Hester said. Without securing a drug company, the state has no way to obtain the necessary drugs.

As of now, the death penalty in Arkansas is constitutional. Hester said if the lethal drug issue is not decided in court, officials may have to resort back to using other methods.

"I don't know that anyone wants to go down that road, but the electric chair is still working. If we can't get lethal injection worked out to the Supreme Court's satisfaction, that may be a route we are forced to look at," Hester said.

Rep. Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville) said currently the state sentences people to death row, but it has no way to carry out the executions.

"There are a number of legal hurdles that we're looking at, and logistical hurdles in terms of getting these drugs necessary to carry out the executions," Leding said.

Leding said in light of the botched execution in Oklahoma on Tuesday, the state wants to make sure they don't fumble in their duty to carry out the sentence.

Despite there not being an execution in Arkansas since 2005, locals expressed mixed opinions on the issue of capital punishment.

Richard Leak has lived in Arkansas for over 40 years and said the laws across the nation need to be more strict.

"They sit around for years before anything happens, and I don’t think the taxpayers need to be paying for a roof over their head and three square meals, when there’s people living on the streets that haven’t committed any crimes at all," Leak said.

Others think that there should be more reformative programs in the jail system.

"I don't think it's a humane way to deal with criminals. I believe there should be meditation and counseling programs in prison," Brooke Boatright said.

There are 32 inmates currently on death row in Arkansas.


  • HDMama

    Bring back hangin’ court. I’d be willing to bet the prison population may just go down if we’d give these criminals “real” punishment. With the economy as it is – prison almost sounds better than my “free” life. I mean with all the amenities free health care, free food, free utilities, free rent, free cable, central heat & air. And we wonder why there are so many repeat offenders… Ummm – Duh!! As for Death Row inmates hang them & be done. I’m tired of paying taxes to feed them. If you’re on death row you obviously victimized another human life in some horrible form, you don’t deserve to know when & how you’re going to die. Your victims certainly didn’t death row is hardly justice to the victim & the families they leave behind. The families are atuck for years paying taxes that support the monster that took their loved one from them for years before said monster is actually put to death, with their last meal requests. It’s sickening… And hardly justice.

  • a volunteer

    I would like to see them just open the prison door for the death row inmates and give them a sporting chance with the hunters standing around. there’s a season for almost everything so adding a maggot hunting season would be a fun sporting event.

  • atc8824

    Here is my view who cares if they suffer because I bet he could have cared less how much his victim or their family suffered .I am sick of criminal rights because where was the victims rights when they were being done away with by this person?To much pity for criminals they get to live their life while their victims family will never forget.Just like overcrowding who cares make their life as miserable as possible and maybe people will start thinking before acting.

  • Dora

    The death penalty is inhumane. That is the reason the drug company in Copenhagen Denmark refuses to sell it to prisons, etc. Their position is ‘we are against the death penalty and our research is to help people not harm them.”.
    A doctor’s oath includes ‘first do no harm’. For all you who wish to kill others, two wrongs don’t make a right.
    Who among you goes to church and has read Jesus’ teachings. We do NOT kill people. We help them.

  • melinda

    Dora I totally agree with you and there innocent people sitting in prison.In Arkansas they don’t sentence you if you are guilty or innocent,If the judge don’t like you for whatever reason he sends you to prison….In Arkansas there is no such thing as innocent untilled proven guilty…It’s not even about if you are innocent it’s all about the money..Arkansas justice system don’t mind sending innocent people to prison it’s their way of taking people’s money.Hell even if you are guilty if you have the money to pay the judge off you can walk away Scott free

    • Dora

      I agree Melinda. Wasn’t it just two weeks ago an Arkansas politician was found guilty but the judge did not give her jail time? She was to remain home with a bracelet around her ankle. Isn’t that special? If only all were treated the same. She also had fines and restitution but how would she pay it back when ‘braceleted’ at home? Craziness seems to prevail.

  • HDMama

    Dora & Melinda I do hope you two are never part of a family victimized by a monster like Clayton Lockett. Put yourself in the shoes of the mother & father whose child was ripped from this life, not by Gods will, by Clayton Locketts free will here on earth where he made the choice to take another life in humanely let her beg for her life & buried her alive. Then sat on death row in prison for 12 years. Writing letters to his family, hugging his family on visitation day. Living where all he had to deal with was himself on death row. All while his victims family mourned her loss & to this day still does. With him gone it may not bring her back, but it’s certainly not the slap in the face it has been for the last 12 years while he is living & having the luxury of seeing his loved ones. Living off of their tax dollars. Executions have been something since biblical times. And eye for an eye. And in this case and so many others these eyes weren’t an even trade. Now his family wants to start a case against the state. For what?? He is dead he didn’t getting beaten to death 1st, he had a blown vein and later dies of a heart attack.

    As for so many innocent people being in the prison system… Define innocent. I know several people behind bars in the state of Arkansas and everyone of them deserve to be where they are at. I’m doubtful a judge even in Arkansas can send you to prison without just cause. I have managed to live my entire life and never get arrested. It really isn’t that hard. I will agree there may be people in the prison system who are there simply because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time & something when differently than planned. It’s the decisions they made upon whatever went wrong that has them where they are at. Almost every criminal will claim to be wrongfully acused. Then there are those select few who will own up to what they did make a change. But most have potty parties about their situation have the opportunity to get out of prison & find themselves right back in a short time after being free, that’s not because the judge doesn’t like them. It’s because the judge is tired of seeing them do nothing with their life but cause trouble & stand in front if them. There are statutes that even judges have to use in order to sentence someone to prison time. They can’t just send them just because the crime has to meet the criteria for the time they are sentenced to serve.

  • Tom

    I agree, you have to put the shoe on the other foot.
    If that was your little girl i bet you would be the first
    In line wanting justice. So cry for him if you want. But
    He got what he had coming. Just wish he suffered about
    3 or 4 more hours.

  • Amanda Turner

    I am for the death penalty and those of you who are not ask yourself this question, Would you want the criminal living in your neighborhood? Do you think locking them away for life with misguided thieves and drug addicts is going to be safe for possible rehabilitation for the thieves and druggies? These miserable people need to cease to exist so the rest of us and even you can live in safety. Now I am humane and I wonder, what happened to the syonide pill or the gassing? That would be kinder than the electric chair. Although I doubt they had any mercy on their victims.

  • Dora

    HDMama, I have a relative who was shockingly murdered at twenty-six years old. The person who did it died in prison. I hold no ill will towards anyone. Hate is brewing in this country. A few people have to stand up and be counted as non-haters. The guy was serving his time, justice was served. He was mentally ill when she married him and she knew it. It was her choice as a woman and she paid with her life. We will always miss her but we could not choose her life’s path.

    In every sense of the word I know and understand the crimes committed by the two men. But I also believe in the 8th Amendment to the Constitution, and without the rule of law we are just a bunch of trigger happy savages. We have to be civil even with prisoners.

    Everyone deserves their day in court, justice served, but one in twenty-five men have been proven to be innocent. Some as many as fifty years later. Mistakes are made. My choice is no death penalty. With court procedures, etc., it has been proven to incarcerate a prisoner for life rather than all the paperwork, attorney and court fees for appeal is less expensive. If a mistake is made, then of course the person is also still living.

    This hang’em mentality or people lining up to shoot smeone is ridiculous. Even the parents of the girl did not want the death penalty for the man. Read the stories, they are everywhere. You are so concerned with revenge you aren’t reading what the family wants.

    To answer your question Ms. Turner, no I would not want a murderer living in my neighborhood. Murderer’s belong in prison with no parole.

    I have not even touched upon the religious view either. I think sometimes the Bible thumpers have never read actual scripture. Sad.

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