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Senator Says Arkansas Should Look at Electric Chair for Executions

If Arkansas can't use lethal injection, one lawmaker says it's time to look at the electric chair again.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - If Arkansas can't use lethal injection, one lawmaker says it's time to look at the electric chair again.

After court rulings making capital punishment difficult to enforce, state legislators are looking at other options.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (D) working to dispel myths Wednesday on why the state death chamber has remained empty since November 2005.

"I think most people just think its criminal appeals and judges that allow appeals to go on forever, and that's not really the problem," McDaniel says.

McDaniel says the issue is at least three-fold.

Those factors include the lethal drugs needed to execute an inmate are no longer available.

There are problems finding qualified personnel willing to administer the drugs and on-going civil challenges by inmates on the death penalty procedure itself are also a factor.

Senate judiciary chair Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Benton, says as long as juries hand out death sentences the state should try to carry it out.

"Currently we're in a pickle, there's no doubt about that," Hutchinson says.

He feels the Arkansas Department of Correction could, under his reading of state law, pursue death by electric chair.

"I think that's what the statute says," Hutchinson says.

While that's debated, McDaniel says the state faces three death penalty options; keep it, change it or abolish it.

"I  want you to know I will do everything in my power until I leave office to address the death penalty's legal purpose but I can not tell you how this chapter will play out," McDaniel says.
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