NEW VOICES: Arkansas Governor Reverses Position on Death Penalty

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe recently said he would sign legislation outlawing the death penalty if legislators were to send him such a bill. Beebe ran for governor as a supporter of capital punishment, but said the experience of signing a death warrant for the first time caused his thinking on the issue to change. “It is an agonizing process, whether you’re for the death penalty or against the death penalty,” the governor said. “Everybody can claim they’re for it until you’re actually the person who’s got to sign it.” Arkansas has not had an execution since 2005, and has only sentenced one new person to death in the last two years. In 2012, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the state’s execution law after finding problems with how the lethal injection drugs used in executions were selected.

(M. Stratford, “Ark. governor reverses course on death penalty,” Associated Press, January 16, 2013 - Link updated 9/15/2015). See New Voices.