Arkansas Sued by Death Row Inmates Over Sedative for Executions

A federal lawsuit filed by death row inmates in Arkansas has reignited a court fight over the sedative used in the state's lethal injections. Two years ago, Arkansas raced to put eight convicted killers to death in 11 days before a batch of the controversial drugs expired. They successfully put to death only four of the inmates, with courts halting the others. The controversy is over whether the sedative used in the lethal cocktail, midazolam, renders inmates fully unconscious during the injections. The state's executions have been on hold due to a lack of the drugs. Arkansas currently doesn't have any execution drugs available, but officials believe they'll be able to get more once a new secrecy law takes effect this summer. The law prohibits the release of any information that directly or indirectly would identify the maker or supplier of Arkansas’ execution drugs. Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, says the law would be the most extreme in the country. “It’s a combination of withholding all the information and making it a felony to even unintentionally but recklessly disclose it,” Dunham said. “What also stands out is the level of conscious disregard for the facts and conscious disregard of the potential effects.”