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Execution system not functional, McDaniel says

by Staff And Wire Reports | July 10, 2013 at 11:37 a.m. | Updated July 10, 2013 at 12:38 p.m.

FORT SMITH — Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says the current death penalty system is broken.

Speaking to the Arkansas Sheriff's Association in Fort Smith on Wednesday, McDaniel pointed to legal challenges and a shortage of drugs used in executions as problems with the death penalty and said it is time to discuss the punishment's future.

"I am opposed to the courts and drug manufacturers continuing to neutralize our death penalty through the imposition of practical hurdles that cannot be overcome," he said.

The attorney general says he continues to support the death penalty but said he has no reason to believe that any of the state's condemned prisoners will be executed while he is in office.

The only alternatives left to Arkansas are to abolish the death penalty or find an alternative execution method, he said, adding that he thought Arkansans would believe it "barbaric" to revert to use of the electric chair or other methods like the gas chamber or firing squad.

McDaniel asked Gov. Mike Beebe this year to schedule executions for seven death row inmates but the governor has indicated he has no immediate plans to do so.

Arkansas last executed a death row inmate in 2005.

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