None of that, however, has prevented the state of Arkansas from attempting to move ahead with an unprecedented eight executions over the next 10 days, as the state's supply of one of the controversial drugs — of dubious effectiveness and purchased under false pretenses by the state — used for lethal injections there, is set to expire on May 1.
Longtime capital punishment litigator Robert Dunham, Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center, joins us to explain Governor Asa Hutchinson's extraordinary planned killing spree and the blizzard of protests, legal measures and court rulings at both the state and federal level, which have already resulted in a last minute US Supreme Court ruling on Monday night, and stays on the state's killing of the first two men set to die in the first of four nights of scheduled double-executions over this week and next.
"This is completely unprecedented. No state in the modern history of the US death penalty has ever attempted to carry out this many executions in a short period of time," Dunham explains, describing the "artificial 'Kill By' date" set by the Governor. "This is something we have never seen before. And (Arkansas is) trying to use a very, very controversial and inappropriate drug in circumstances in which the execution schedule only makes things worse."
We discuss the "psychological trauma for the prison personnel" tasked with carrying out the killings, the pharmaceutical companies trying to keep their medicines from being used to kill prisoners "against their corporate mission, which is to save lives, and not take lives"; questions about the innocence, guilt, legal representation and mental acuity of some of those set to be killed; and the multiple state and federal cases furiously moving through the courts over all of this, including the "irony" of the state of Arkansas' "states rights" Governor and Attorney General challenging a ruling on state law by their own state Supreme Court at the US Supreme court.
Finally today, in hopes of cheering us all up a bit, it appears that folks in Texas have finally gotten something right about politics — and Donald Trump will not like it one bit.
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