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Good week: death row inmates

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Aug. 10-16, 2011

It was a good week for...

DEATH ROW IN-MATES. Circuit Judge Tim Fox ruled that Arkansas law giving the Arkansas Correction Department leeway to use any type of drug for lethal injections was unconstitutional. Executions have been halted in Arkansas because of the lawsuit and questions about the quality of the sodium thiopental Arkansas had on hand. That supply was turned over to federal drug officials. Fox's ruling prevents state prison officials from using their discretion in finding another execution drug if they can't properly obtain sodium thiopental. Both the state and Death Row inmates who brought the suit plan appeals of rulings in the case.

ATHEISTS. Federal District Judge Susan Webber Wright ruled that Central Arkansas Transit Authority and its advertising agency, On the Move Advertising, had violated the free speech of the atheist group United Coalition of Reason by refusing to sell them advertising on CATA buses except under restrictions not imposed on other advertisers. But Wright said that a $15,000 bond could be required, because she thought this was a reasonable amount for the risk of vandalism involved, and she believed the coalition could pay it easily.

ARKANSAS REPUBLICANS. Former Democratic Rep. Linda Collins-Smith of Pocahontas switched parties to become a Republican. Republicans hailed the defection as "historic" (it wasn't; see page 4), but most Democrats already considered Collins-Smith a Republican. Redistricting would have pitted her against another Democrat incumbent.

It was a bad week for...

THE ARKANSAS LOTTERY. The IRS fined the lottery $99,673.29 for late payments of taxes withheld from lottery winners. This is the second time the IRS has penalized the lottery for late payment. The Lottery Commission voted to hire a tax attorney to help straighten out its tax troubles.

KNILE DAVIS. Last year's rush leader in the SEC suffered an ankle injury that's expected to leave him on the Razorback sideline all season.

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