by Max Brantley
The Arkansas Correction Department has made some changes in execution procedures, including a 30-minute extension in the time witnesses may observe the procedure. Those of us who sued over the limitations on current practices were not notified of this change. And, so far, I haven't been able to get an elaboration from the attorney general and the Correction Department, both of which have found the complaint meritless previously. The more important point, though, is a change in the drug dosage. And the fact that the governor and attorney general of Arkansas are pushing hard for executions, harder even than blood-thirsty Texas, which has slowed its usual push for assembly line efficiency death on account of court concerns about lethal injection.
UPDATE: Now I've talked to Dina Tyler, prisons spokeswoman. The reference to a 30-minute change only is for an earlier arrival time for staff members. This will not provide a longer window for public witnesses to observe the process, including the insertion of intravenous feeds. And she said the audio for the coroner's pronouncement, similarly, is a minor change. Previously, an audio feed from the execution chamber to public witnesses continued through the execution process.
ALSO: Here's the pleading. (link fixed)