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Lawmakers to tackle execution law in upcoming session

Ten death row inmates, led by convicted killer Jack Harold Jones, have not been executed all because of wording in a state statute.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- Ten death row inmates, led by convicted killer Jack Harold Jones, have not been executed all because of wording in a state statute.

The Court ruled in June that the law gives the Arkansas Department of Correction too much power in determining what chemicals are used during an execution.  The ruling also said the department has no guidance when it comes to using the chemicals.

"There's no greater authority that we give than the authority to take someone's life," said State Senator Jeremy Hutchinson.

Hutchinson, a Republican who represents District 22, is one of the lawmakers on the State Senate Judiciary Committee at the Capitol to decide what language needs to go into the law that could withstand a lawsuit if challenged.

Correction leaders warn being too specific in the chemicals could delay executions.

"If you name particular chemicals and something better comes along, then we wouldn't be able to use that until the statute had changed. We would have to wait for a session, or a special session would have to be called," Dina Tyler said.

Lawmakers say they'll look at the wording used in other states as a model.  

"We're not chemists. We don't know the latest techniques. It's going to take an education process on our part, which is what I think the Supreme Court wanted us to do," Hutchinson said.

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