Republican legislators propose to expand execution witnesses to include victim's family | Arkansas Blog

Republican legislators propose to expand execution witnesses to include victim's family

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KTHV reports on plans by two Republican legislators to push a bill in 2015 to allow a family member of the victim in a capital case to witness the execution.

Though not yet a legislator, Rebecca Petty has filed a bill that would allow a family member — parent, spouse, child or sibling, including "step" relatives — to join the small number of up to 12 witnesses selected by the Correction Department  to witness an execution. Petty would name the bill Andi's Law after her daughter, raped and killed by an uncle.

Sen. Bart Hester said he'll support the bill.

Petty otherwise keeps executions private. Some might question that. All society is a victim of capital crimes. A legislator once introduced legislation to require public executions at War Memorial Stadium. They would likely be well-attended.

No one has been executed in Arkansas since 2005. There are 31 people on Death Row. Questions about drugs used for lethal injections, along with the extended appeal process, have made the state's death penalty law dysfunctional, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has said.

As yet, nobody has introduced a bill to join other states and most of the western world in ending capital punishment.

Speaking of life issues: Hester has introduced a bill that gives terminally ill people the "right" to obtain experimental drugs, treatments and devices.


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