News & Information

Execution in America

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • May 4, 2017 11:00 pm
  • 23:24

(originally aired March 18, 2015) Guest: Austin Sarat, Professor of Law and Political Science, Amherst College, author of “Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America’s Death Penalty”  After going twelve years without a single execution, the state of Arkansas recently slated eight inmates for lethal injection within a ten-day period. Although legal challenges kept four of the eight from execution, the reason behind the blitz was simple: Arkansas’s supply of a drug used in lethal injection was about to expire. The drug, a sedative, is difficult to purchase, as drug companies have protested its use for capital punishment, all of which left Arkansas in a scramble to use what they had before it went bad.  A few years ago, anticipating a predicament like this one, the Utah Legislature considered allowing the firing squad as a backup plan for execution, should lethal injection become unavailable. We discuss the complicated process of execution.