Arkansas Uses Death Penalty for the First Time Since 2005

Arkansas Uses Death Penalty for the First Time Since 2005

On April 20th, Lendell Lee, 51, died on death row, marking the first execution in Arkansas since 2005 [1]. Lee was among eight inmates scheduled to be executed in an 11 day span, a rate unmatched by any other state in the death penalty’s history. This surge of executions is generally uncommon in the US, with low countrywide rates, but particularly so for Arkansas, where there have only been 27 executions since the death penalty was reinstituted in 1976 [2]. The state has cited the upcoming expiration of a key lethal injection drug, midazolam, to defend the hectic scheduling. Across the country, drug shortages have limited the ability of various states to carry out executions as more European drug companies block the use of their drugs for such usage [1]. As a result, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has stated that with their supply of midazolam expiring on April 30th, the state desired to give families their long awaited closure before their ability to do so was further lengthened while they sought a new method. While four of the remaining cases have been halted, three are still scheduled to take place as scheduled for now [3].

References:

1. Mark Berman, “Arkansas Carries out First Execution Since 2005 After Supreme Court Denies Stay Requests,” last modified April 21, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/04/20/arkansas-plan-to-resume-executions-is-blocked-by-new-court-orders/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_arkansas-110am:homepage/story&utm_term=.85224ff5da4b

2. Mark Berman, “With Lethal Injection Drugs Expiring, Arkansas Plans Unprecedented Seven Executions in 11 Days,” last modified April 7, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/04/07/with-lethal-injection-drugs-expiring-arkansas-plans-unprecedented-seven-executions-in-11-days/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.5d94000dee24
3. Associated Press, “Arkansas Prepares to Carry out First Execution Since 2005,” last modified April 20, 2017, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ledell-lee-execution-arkansas-prepares-first-execution-since-2005/

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