Thursday, May 18, 2017

Resurrecting death

It's been an odd little journey for State Rep Steve Pylant this session. After having co-sponsored a bill to abolish Louisiana's death penalty, he managed to talk himself out of it in time to vote it down in committee. So that's weird.  The T-P decided to try and figure out how that it happened.  As you might expect, the answer is he's just kind of dumb.
Pylant said Louisiana could be executing more people if officials prioritized it. He pointed out that Arkansas executed four people in eight days in April. Arkansas' lethal injection drugs were about to expire, and drug companies have been reluctant to sell more to Arkansas, Louisiana and other states for capital punishment.

"We say we can't get the drugs to execute with. Arkansas has executed four or five people in the last month," Pylant said. "So something's not right. The powers that be apparently don't have the will to carry out the executions."
The triumph of the will in Arkansas that seems to have inspired Pylant is actually a macabre clearance sale on executions set in motion by Governor Asa Hutchinson. The state's supply of a sedative used in lethal injections is about to expire. Drug manufacturers who no longer want their products used for this purpose have refused to sell them to the states anymore. Hutchinson's response is to kill off as many convicts as he can in the meantime.  Also, the drug doesn't always work so great as the first of these executions demonstrated once again.
 At 7:20 p.m. local time, 52-year-old Jack Harold Jones was pronounced dead in the death chamber at the Cummings Unit state prison. Infirmary workers had spent more than 45 minutes unsuccessfully trying to put a central line into his neck. According to a court filing, during Jones’s execution, he was, quote, "was moving his lips and gulping for air," unquote, which suggests he continued to be conscious during the lethal injection. The controversial sedative midazolam is administered as part of a cocktail of execution drugs to make prisoners unconscious, but it’s repeatedly failed to do so during other executions, leading to painful deaths.
Pylant's wavering on the death penalty seems to have stemmed from his concern about access to the drugs. Arkansas cruel blundering has reassured him, though. So that's nice.

Anyway, this afternoon, there is a last minute effort to bring the bill back for another vote next week. We'll see how that goes.

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