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Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 9:48 a.m.
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Judge strikes Arkansas' lethal-injection law

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published February 14, 2014 at 7:07 a.m. Updated February 14, 2014 at 1:33 p.m.

A judge has struck down Arkansas' lethal-injection law, saying it violates the state constitution's separation-of-powers provision by giving too much discretion to the Department of Correction to choose which drug will be administered.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen said an execution law passed last year allows the department to choose a barbiturate but gives "no reasonable guidance" on how to do so or which to select.

"In this instance, the legislature has abdicated its responsibility," Griffen said from the bench after hearing oral arguments.

Nine death-row inmates challenge the 2013 law on multiple fronts.

Though Griffen accepted the one claim, he also rejected a claim from the inmates that the 2013 law shouldn't be applied retroactively to convictions before them.

Jeff Rosenzweig, an attorney for the inmates, said both sides would likely appeal and the issue will ultimately be decided by the state Supreme Court.

An earlier version of this story misspelled Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen's name.

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paladin123p06130833 says... February 14, 2014 at 8:26 a.m.

What drugs are used when someone choses euthanasia as form of death for an incurable illness?

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Landau29 says... February 14, 2014 at 12:04 p.m.

What kind of mercy did they show their victims???? Let's show them the same kind of gently, unagonizing death they showed their victims. That's total BS.

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Pobucker says... February 14, 2014 at 12:28 p.m.

Why do we have to use drugs?
My vote is for a slaughterhouse bolt gun. Proven efficacy and very humane.

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HawgFan says... February 14, 2014 at 1:03 p.m.

No Country For Old Men style would do it!!!

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SUPERDUTY says... February 14, 2014 at 3:14 p.m.

Boy, those needles must be far more excruciating than the manner of death these murderers inflicted on their victims. An M16 would be painless. The bullet would be through their brain before they knew it.

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Ragmop says... February 14, 2014 at 3:46 p.m.

Some people would complain if you hung them with a new rope.

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RBBrittain says... February 14, 2014 at 6:38 p.m.

Don't we still have the electric chair so far used only for John Edward Swindler, who probably deserved it more than any other death-row inmate in modern Arkansas history? (He shot a Fort Smith cop in cold blood, in broad daylight.)

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FarmBoy says... February 14, 2014 at 7:05 p.m.

NEED TO GET THE JUDGE OFF THE BENCH. If they are to kill them what differance does it make. Just like Hillary said WHAT DIFFERANCE DOES IT MAKE.

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OrglingLlama says... February 14, 2014 at 7:21 p.m.

"A judge has struck down Arkansas' lethal-injection law, saying it violates the state constitution's separation-of-powers provision by giving too much discretion to the Department of Correction to choose which drug will be administered.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffin said an execution law passed last year allows the department to choose a barbiturate but gives "no reasonable guidance" on how to do so or which to select."

So, the DOC can put the accused in jail, can house and feed the accused, can put the accused to work, can choose the method by which the accused can be executed, can choose the barbiturate to execute said accused. It can do all these things, but it cannot use said barbiturate because of separation of powers????

Way to go, Mister Wen-dull.

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Dontsufferfools says... February 15, 2014 at 7:38 a.m.

I take it none of you folks lose any sleep over the fact that there's been a steady stream of death-row inmates cleared of their crimes by DNA evidence and a better investigation of their cases. Lazy cops and unfair prosecutors push cases into court with shaky evidence, and juries made up of numskulls like yourselves occasionally convict innocent people. It's useful to the innocent that they're still alive when the mistakes, corruption and numskulls' bad decisions are found out. Given what we know today, the awareness that innocent people have been executed by the state would bother a citizen's conscience.

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