EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 51/51/94
EXTRA 35/94 Death Penalty 8 July 1994
USA (ARKANSAS) Hoyt CLINES
Hoyt Clines, James Holmes and Darryl Richley are scheduled to be executed in
Arkansas on 3 August 1994.
The three men, all white, were sentenced to death for the murder of Don Lehman,
white, in 1981. A fourth accomplice in the crime, whose death sentence was
overturned on a technical error, is currently awaiting resentencing.
As of 20 April 1994 there were 41 prisoners under sentence of death in Arkansas.
The method of execution is lethal injection, although prisoners sentenced
to death before 4 March 1983 may choose between lethal injection or
electrocution. The Governor of Arkansas has full clemency authority.
However, all clemency applications are referred to the Board of Pardons and
Paroles for investigation and recommendation.
Jonas Whitmore and Edward Pickens, both black, were the last prisoners to be
executed (for unrelated crimes) in Arkansas - they were executed within an
hour of each other on 11 May 1994. Multiple executions used to be fairly common
in the US - Arkansas executed two people on the same day on four separate dates
in 1960; six prisoners were executed on the same day in the District of Columbia
in August 1942. If the executions of Hoyt Clines, James Holmes and Darryl Richley
go ahead as scheduled, it will be the first time that three prisoners have
been executed on the same day in the state since June 1939; the last time three
prisoners were executed on the same day in the US was in California in August
1962. According to newspaper reports, an official from the Arkansas Department
of Corrections has stated that multiple executions save money and reduce stress
for state workers.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases, as a violation
of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters in English if possible, or call by telephone:
- urging Governor Tucker to grant clemency to Hoyt Clines, James Holmes and
Darryl Richley, by commuting their death sentences.
Jim Guy Tucker
Governor of Arkansas
Little Rock, AR 72201
Telephone: +1 501 682 2345
Faxes: +1 501 682 1382
Telegrams: Governor Tucker, Little Rock, AR 72201, USA