Jack Greene Has Profound Mental Illness, but Arkansas Wants to Execute Him Anyway

Update: On Nov. 7, 2017, the Arkansas Supreme Court stayed the execution of death row prisoner Jack Green.

The state of Arkansas is planning to kill Jack Greene. But Jack Greene has serious mental illness and should not be executed.

This doesn’t mean that Greene is not guilty of the capital murder of Sidney Burnett in 1991. Stopping his execution has nothing to do with his guilt — or even the fact that he should face a severe punishment for the rest of his life. But, under our law, Greene’s profound mental illness must determine whether he can be executed.

For more than three decades, we have recognized as a matter of constitutional law that executing someone who does not rationally understand the basis for their execution is cruel and unusual.

In his delusional mind, Greene needs to stand upside down, stuff pieces of toilet paper in his nose and ears until they bleed, eat from his sink, and perch on his toilet to protect himself from an imagined attack on his central nervous system. He believes the prison and his lawyers are working together against him in an elaborate scheme of retaliation and torture. He believes that his execution is part of a vast conspiracy by his lawyers and others against him. He does not rationally understand his punishment.

Nonetheless, Greene faces a November 9, 2017, execution because Arkansas has no constitutional avenue for him to prove the extent of his mental illness. The person who decides whether prisoners are competent to be executed is the director of the Department of Correction — the very person whose job it is to conduct executions. There is no other way for Greene to demonstrate or explain to an independent court why he should not be executed, even though he has struggled with mental illness for decades.

His first reported imagined attack on his body came in 1982. Greene, 27 years old at the time, went to the emergency room in distress. He told the doctors that he had been bitten by a snake.

But here’s the thing. Doctors did not believe there was a snake. It was all in his head.

Furthermore, Greene harmed himself based on his imaginary injury. He had split open his own leg, sucked out the imaginary venom, and made a tourniquet.

This is the nature of delusions. Greene’s delusions may seem bizarre. But to him, they are absolutely real.

We know serious mental illness may be the result of family history and genetics, or it may be the result of other life experiences and even head injuries. Which did Greene have? All of them. Seizures, major depression, and suicide all run deep through Greene’s immediate family. His siblings have been diagnosed with serious mental illness for years. Greene’s father committed suicide in front of him, and his mother died of an overdose.

If his biology stacked the cards against him, his life experiences made sure he had a losing hand.

As a boy, Greene was sent to the Stonewall Jackson Juvenile Training School — a notorious hellhole of physical and sexual abuse. He could not escape the sexual and physical violence there, and he tried to run from the school. This ended in a car accident where he broke his ribs, punctured his lung, and injured his head. He was then returned to the violent and chaotic school.

When Jack finally came home, he was a changed child, marked by telltale signs of trauma. He was withdrawn, quiet, crying, nervous, rocking, and haunted by nightmares. Such trauma, like a head injury from a car accident, changes the grooves of your brain.

So why is Greene still facing an imminent execution date? Because Arkansas has no constitutionally adequate way for him to prove that he meets the standard for someone too mentally ill to be executed.

In most states, lawyers for seriously mentally ill death row prisoners prove that their clients are incapable of rationally understanding the purpose of their execution, and thus ineligible for execution, by presenting their case to courts. Not so in Arkansas, where death row prisoners — and their lawyers — are expected to argue to the head of the Department of Corrections that they qualify for the exemption. This is an anathema to our system of justice: We do not allow jailers to determine our punishments or decide who lives and who dies in America.

At a minimum, Arkansas must hold a fair competency hearing to determine if Mr. Greene is too mentally ill to be executed. To proceed with the execution of Jack Greene, a person who cannot rationally understand the basis for his punishment, would be morally and legally wrong.

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Anonymous

There are no juries of peers for people afflicted with serious mental illness (again, which is neurological, not psychological). People with SMI are the only class of citizens for which due process is mechanized to assure injustice. Juries do not understand psychosis. Unfortunately, mankind was put on this earth without an operating manual. Whoever engineered us has us punishing "his" engineering mistakes...which is a tragedy. A relatively small number of people on this planet have any idea what neurological disconnection with a normal waking reality can cause. This medical condition can be dangerous. I actually do know what can happen in that neural state, and that is why I have a living will and advanced directive for medical treatment that stipulates involuntary medical treatment if I ever end up in this state. My chances might be slim to none, but I could have a traumatic brain injury that could cause psychosis. I am a good law-abiding person only because my brain is operating in such way that does not deprive me of certain critical neural functionalities - not because of "character". Psychosis is a medical condition - it is not some disembodied "evil".

Anonymous

Allow the state to kill him and put him out of his misery.

Anonymous

I remember reading a book in my youth where an innocent man was put to death. That man had with him the power to kill all his enemies but instead chose to die. That man right before he died ask God to forgive them instead. His name is Jesus. If you are a Christian and you advocate violence you have no right whatsoever to invoke the name of the almighty much less say you are a follower. Forget legalities. Forget all other arguments. Christian means Christ-like. Advocating death to someone is not in my opinion Christ-like. Ye who are without sin cast the first stone.

Anonymous

The majority of United States would probably speak of this case as a mental illness case, BUT Jesus said: And you will know the truth and the truth will make you free. If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.
And God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power, and He went about doing good and healing ALL who were oppressed of the devil.
Seek Me and you will find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Call upon the Lord and He will show you great and mighty things you know not.
So, what is the real issue here. Many people of color have been monitored by "white supremacists" who have been trained in the occult. People of color(not just African Americans, but Hispanics, Indians, Middle Easterners etc) have been subject to a series of outrageous, bizarre and cruel satanic strategies to reduce them to nothing emotionally, psychologically, physiologically, intellectually, relationally etc. Through a series of curses/spells soul ties, binding of the soul, changing the persona of people multiple times(referred to as multiple personality disorder by most people), mind/telepathic and emotional control, the people are weakened, stripped of life, energy, resources, stability, way of life, so they are displaced, some end up on drugs, alcohol, medication. To be a bit more clear: People of color are demonised, so they don't function as "normal" people would, thereby causing them to be ostracized/looked down upon, spoken ill off. I'm not African American, and these white supremacists have been trying to get me hooked on psychiatric drugs, & cause people to think I have mental issues, just so I would be silenced and not have a voice to expose the deeds of darkness.
God knows the deep and profound things. He knows what is in the darkness and He is the Light.
Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than Light, for their deeds would be known.
God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but rather that they would be saved.
But this is the condemnation:Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than Light, for their deeds would be known.

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