Kelley v. Johnson (Majority, with Concurring and Dissenting)Annotate this Case
Appellees were prisoners under sentences of death for capital murder. Appellees filed an amended complaint against the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) challenging the constitutionality of Act 1096 of 2015, which establishes the current method by which executions are to be conducted in Arkansas. The circuit court granted summary judgment in part to ADC but denied ADC summary judgment on Appellees’ substantive due-process claim and cruel-or-unusual-punishment claim, concluding that these issues could not be decided as a matter of law because material questions of fact remained in dispute. ADC appealed, arguing that Appellees failed sufficiently to plead and prove the alleged constitutional violations in order to overcome ADC’s defense of sovereign immunity. The Supreme Court reversed and dismissed Appellees’ amended complaint, holding that the Act does not offend the Constitution.