Constantly-changing situation over scheduled executions in Arkansas

Outside Ark State Prison - Scott Langley

Entrance to Cummins Unit, Arkansas Department of Corrections. Photo by: Scott Langley / deathpenaltyphoto.org

On Monday, Arkansas officials planned to start an assembly line of executions – 8 in 10 days. After dozens of court challenges and an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the first two executions were halted.

But the state still hopes to carry out up to 5 executions before the end of next week, in order to use its supply of a controversial execution drug, Midazolam, before it expires at the end of April.

With legal challenges coming from all sides, the situation is changing by the minute. As it currently stands, all executions – including two originally scheduled for tonight – are on hold. But all of that could change, and the state is preparing the two men originally scheduled for execution tonight as if their executions will go forward. Both men have been denied DNA testing that could prove their innocence.

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Will Virginia Execute an Innocent Man? – an update from CCATDP

On April 11, we released a letter that has received national attention. It was signed by 25 notable Virginia conservatives calling on Virginia Governor McAuliffe to halt the planned execution of Ivan Teleguz. His execution is scheduled for April 25, despite a complete lack of physical evidence and the fact that two of the three witnesses who originally linked him to the crime have since recanted their testimony. The third witness had incentive to lie because he received a lighter sentence in exchange for testifying against Teleguz.

Considering all of this, there is simply too much doubt to execute Teleguz, and there is reason to believe that he may actually be an innocent man. Thus, pro-life conservatives in Virginia signed the letter respectfully asking Gov. McAuliffe to commute Teleguz’s sentence. You can read it in its entirety and see the signatories here.

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All Arkansas executions on hold, for now – a report from Little Rock

Yesterday was quite a whirlwind.

The day started early with preparations for the rally and petition delivery at the Arkansas State Capitol and ended late in the evening with the announcement that all of the scheduled #8in10 executions had been put on hold.

I spent the morning with our coalition partners, preparing over 150,000 petition signatures for delivery. (Did you know that it takes over 10,000 pieces of paper to print out over 150,000 signatures?) Then we gathered – in fellowship and in a show of strength – on the stairs of the Arkansas Capitol, proclaiming that the death penalty is broken and needs to end. Continue Reading →

Civil rights leaders weigh-in against scheduled executions in Arkansas

Mona delivering sign-on lettersLocal and national civil rights and racial justice leaders signed a letter to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, calling on him to halt the series of executions scheduled in the coming weeks. EJUSA Campaign Strategist Mona Cadena was on hand at the Capitol to deliver the letter (left), which outlined the concerns the group has with the death penalty’s racial bias and its disproportionate effect on communities of color.

“Racial bias in the criminal justice system, including the death penalty and its application, is undisputed,” the letter says. “From slavery to Jim Crow to the present day, the death penalty has long been a tool of injustice and discrimination in the USA and the State of Arkansas.”
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Stand strong with EJUSA

It’s outrageous.

As I write this, Arkansas is planning to carry out eight executions over ten days starting next week. The state plans to execute so many people so rapidly in order to use up nearly-expired (and dangerous) execution drugs.

EJUSA is standing strong against this extreme move, which goes against the national trend toward repeal. Thanks to you, EJUSA’s expert organizers are providing strategic assistance to our partners in Arkansas, and we are mobilizing diverse voices to speak out against this atrocity across the country.

If you are as outraged as I am, I urge you to help EJUSA stand strong against these executions with a gift of $25, $55, $75, or even $100.

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Prominent evangelical leaders urge Arkansas to halt scheduled executions

More than two dozen national Evangelical leaders called on Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to stop the upcoming “assembly line of executions.”

Their letter, released today, described Easter as “a sacred day when Christians celebrate Christ’s triumph over death,” noting the “unfortunate timing” of the executions.

Notable signers of the letter include many of EJUSA’s longstanding Evangelical partners and allies, such as pastors of mega-church congregations, theological scholars, religious authors, and more.

“To allow a drug’s expiration date to dictate when an individual will die shows a troubling disregard for the sacredness of human life,” the letter says.

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Floridians rally in support of state attorney who won’t seek the death penalty

Christine speaking - photo credit Mark Elliott

Busloads of people from all corners of Florida descended on the state capitol in Tallahassee this morning for a “Rally in Tally” to show their support for State Attorney Aramis Ayala. Ayala announced earlier this month that she will not seek the death penalty during her tenure as the head prosecutor of Orange and Osceola Counties.

Following a rally on the capitol steps, leaders delivered over 130,000 petition signatures to the office of Governor Rick Scott. Scott filed for the removal of Alaya from a high profile murder case in Orlando, overstepping his authority and undermining her discretion as a prosecutor.

Ayala is fighting back, and people throughout Florida and around the country are standing with her.
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Sign to stop #8in10: 8 executions in 10 days

The death penalty is broken, but that isn’t stopping Arkansas. The state plans to execute 8 people in 10 days so it can use up nearly-expired – and dangerous – execution drugs.

Arkansas’s planned assembly line of executions is irresponsible, risky, and out of step, at a time when most states are turning away from the death penalty. Take action to stop the Governor’s reckless execution plan.

Governor Asa Hutchinson is racing to use up the supply of a controversial execution drug, Midazolam, because it expires at the end of April. Midazolam is known for causing botched executions, which is why states are rejecting it. Florida and Arizona have stopped using it, and an Ohio judge recently halted Midazolam executions in that state.
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Bridge-building in an era of polarization

At a time when the world – and the country, especially – is so polarized, many are looking for leaders that can build bridges and cross the divide. EJUSA has been building these bridges for over 20 years, among law enforcement, crime survivors, Evangelicals, conservatives, and more.

This month’s Harper’s Magazine takes an in-depth look at some of that work, sharing the story of EJUSA’s project, Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty. In profiling several staff and highlighting our values of finding and forging common ground, the story gives hope that we can make progress when we build relationships and work together on the issues we care about.

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36 hours in Orlando

Yesterday, Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced that she will not be seeking the death penalty in any cases while she remains in office.

Ayala’s office covers Orange County, which has historically been an outlier in Florida and in the country with regards to its death penalty usage. It is among just four of Florida’s 67 counties that have produced more than five executions since 1976.

Check out our storify to see how the story has unfolded in the last 36 hours.

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