LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Latest on Arkansas’ efforts to execute six men by the end of April (all times local):
Arkansas is asking the state’s highest court to reconsider its decision to halt the execution of one of the first inmates who had been scheduled to die under a plan to execute several men before the end of the month.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge asked the state Supreme Court Saturday to lift the stay it issued to Bruce Ward, who was scheduled to die on Monday. The court had issued the stay on Friday.
State and federal rulings have blocked the state’s plan to execute eight inmates before its supply of a lethal injection drug expires at the end of April.
Ward’s attorneys have argued he is a diagnosed schizophrenic with no rational understanding of his impending execution.
A medical supply company that accused Arkansas of misleadingly obtaining a lethal injection drug wants to drop its lawsuit and is asking a state judge to vacate his order blocking an unprecedented plan to execute eight men by the end of the month.
McKesson on Saturday said it wants to dismiss the lawsuit it had filed against the state over its use of vecuronium bromide sold by the company that was expected to be used in the upcoming executions. The company said a temporary restraining order issued by a Pulaski County judge preventing Arkansas from using the drug is no longer necessary now that a federal judge has halted the state’s executions, which were set to begin Monday.
The company has said it sold the drug to be used for medical purposes, not executions.
The state of Arkansas has appealed a federal judge’s decision preventing it from executing several inmates before its supply of an execution drug expires at the end of the month.
The attorney general filed paperwork saying the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis should overturn stays of execution granted earlier Saturday by U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson initially scheduled eight executions for the 11-day period, but other court action reduced the number of executions to six.
Baker says the inmates could have legitimate claims that Arkansas’ execution protocol could inflict “severe pain.”
Arkansas’ attorney general is asking the state’s highest court to vacate a judge’s ruling that blocks the state from using one of its lethal injection drugs.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge also wants to remove the judge from the case after he participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration the day he issued his decision.
Rutledge on Saturday filed an emergency petition with the state Supreme Court after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen granted a temporary restraining order blocking the drug’s use. A supplier of the drug accused Arkansas of misleadingly obtaining the product, saying it wasn’t sold to be used for executions.
Rutledge’s office noted Griffen’s attendance at a death penalty demonstration outside the Governor’s Mansion the same day the ruling was issued. Photos and video showed Griffen strapped to a cot, appearing to mimic a death row inmate on a gurney.
A federal judge has halted Arkansas’ already compromised plan to execute several inmates over an 11-day period starting next week.
U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Saturday granted a preliminary injunction requested by the inmates to block the executions. Arkansas was set to execute the first inmate by lethal injection on Monday night.
The state originally planned to execute eight inmates, but two had previously been blocked by state and federal courts. A state judge earlier Friday blocked the state from using a lethal injection drug, a move that could also halt the executions altogether.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson had scheduled the executions to take place before the state’s supply of one of its lethal injection drugs expires at the end of the month. Arkansas hasn’t executed an inmate since 2005 because of drug shortages and legal challenges.
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