Breaking: Arkansas Supreme Court Just Halted Execution of a Severely Mentally Ill Man

“He should receive an independent hearing about his competency.”


In a 5-2 decision, the Arkansas Supreme Court has stopped the scheduled execution of Jack Greene, a severely mentally ill death row inmate. Greene was scheduled to be put to death on Thursday. 

“Today’s order means that our client, Jack Greene, will have the opportunity to make the case that he should receive an independent hearing about his competency for execution,” Scott Braden, an attorney for Green said in a statement on Tuesday.

Greene’s lawyers argued their client was too mentally ill to be executed, but the state’s top prison official determined that he was competent. Greene’s lawyers then asked the state’s Supreme Court for a stay of execution so justices could review a lower court’s dismissal of his challenge to the law that gives the top prison official this kind of authority. Today, the Supreme Court halted the execution in order to further review this challenge. 

Greene was convicted of the murder of Sidney Burnett in 1991. His attorneys say he suffers from psychotic delusions and should be “exactly the kind of person our laws prohibit from execution.” As Mother Jones previously reported: 

In solitary confinement since 2003, Greene’s mental state has deteriorated over his last two decades behind bars. According to his clemency petition, Greene is routinely found with blood smeared on his face, and he stuffs his ears and nose with toilet paper. He eats out of his sink and uses his toilet as a desk. Greene is convinced that prison officials are conspiring to make him sick and have inflicted damage on his central nervous system. Medical tests have found no evidence of these injuries and concluded his accusations are a result of his delusional thinking. 

Prison medical staff have described him as mentally unstable and in a letter to Republican Gov. Asa Huthinson, 28 doctors wrote that executing Greene would be “morally and ethically” wrong.


as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.


as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.