Two roadblocks to the Nov. 9 execution of Jack Greene were removed today.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he wouldn’t stop the execution of Greene for capital murder in Johnson County.
He released a statement:
“I have reviewed all documents, transcripts, and comments from interested mental health professionals as well as the video of the clemency hearing before the Parole Board, which included Jack Greene’s testimony.
“In that testimony, Jack Greene acknowledged that he understands he is being executed for the murder of Sidney Burnett and discusses why he made the decision to kill Mr. Burnett. Numerous courts have reviewed the case and I am satisfied that the Supreme Court’s standards have been met and that he is competent to be executed. As normal, I will continue to review any additional relevant facts as November 9 approaches.”
Also, Circuit Judge Jodi Dennis of Pine Bluff granted the state’s requirest to dismiss an effort by attorneys for Greene to stop his execution on the
The judge said Greene’s arguments have been rejected in other courts before. She also said there’s no authority in law for the court to order a competency hearing, beyond the consideration by Wendy Kelley, the prison director. The judge said the Arkansas Supreme Court has in the past rejected arguments about the length of time on Death Row as a contributing factor to incompetency and also upheld the law that vests competency decision in the department.
An appeal of the order is likely.
As Jacob Rosenberg noted yesterday, Judge Dennis denied a similar claim by Death Row inmate Bruce Ward. Ward appealed and the Supreme Court stayed the execution.
The American Bar Association and a number of mental health professionals have objected to the execution.
The state Parole Board earlier recommended against clemency for Greene.
“Jack Greene has suffered from fixed psychotic delusions about his incarceration and punishment for many years and lacks a rational understanding of his death sentence. The U.S. Supreme Court has clearly found that severely mentally ill death row prisoners like Mr. Greene must have access to competency hearings presided over by neutral decision makers in order to prevent unconstitutional execution.
“We will appeal this decision to the Arkansas Supreme Court and continue to advocate for Mr. Greene’s right to a hearing to prove he is not competent for execution. The Arkansas Supreme Court should stay Mr. Greene’s execution so it may give full consideration to this important question.”
– Scott Braden, Attorney for Jack Greene, Assistant Federal Defender of the Arkansas Federal Defender Office