Julie Vandiver


Death penalty


In 2015, the Supreme Court decided Glossip v. Gross, which upheld the denial of a challenge to the lethal injection protocol in Oklahoma. Justice Breyer dissented, writing that he believed the death penalty was unconstitutional because, among other reasons, it had become “unusual.” He pointed out that Arkansas, along with 10 other states, had not conducted an execution in more than 8 years. This Article provides a look into how Arkansas made it onto this list. The drought was not from a lack of effort by the state. In the ten years preceding Glossip, twenty-one execution dates were set and all were stayed. Nineteen of those were stayed because of lethal injection litigation. As this Article will recount, the decade-long hiatus was the result of dogged litigation on behalf of deathsentenced prisoners, repeated amendment of the state’s lethal injection law, and missteps by state officials.

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