Federal judge temporarily blocks Arkansas from executing eight men in ten days


Federal judge temporarily blocks Arkansas from executing eight men in ten days

Federal judge temporarily blocks Arkansas from executing eight men in ten days

Federal judge temporarily blocks Arkansas from executing eight men in ten days

John Williams, an assistant federal public defender who represents some of the death row prisoners, called on "state officials to accept the federal court's decision, cancel the frantic execution schedule, and propose a legal and humane method to carry out its executions".

Ron McAndrew said he was particularly concerned about the psychological well-being of the handful of officials who would be involved if Arkansas were to proceed with the rapid-fire executions of several condemned men, originally set for April 17 to 27. "It is unfortunate that a USA district judge has chosen to side with the convicted prisoners in one of their many last-minute attempts to delay justice", Judd Deere, a spokesman for Rutledge said in a statement.

A spokesman for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said even if the Arkansas Supreme Court vacates Griffen's temporary restraining order, Arkansas would still be barred from executing inmates because of Baker's Saturday ruling.

Hutchinson put the execution spree into play because one of the drugs used for executions, Midazolam, is set to expire at the end of April, the BBC reports.

Ward was one of two inmates set to die Monday. Arkansas hasn't carried out a double execution since 1999. In a victory for the state Sunday, a federal judge in western Arkansas denied a stay request by Davis. After that, officials say finding a supplier willing to allow the drug to be used to kill someone will be exceptionally hard.

Two other drug companies, Fresenius Kabi USA and West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corp., filed a brief in US District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas arguing contracts prohibit their products from being used in executions, which run "counter to the manufacturers' mission to save and enhance patients' lives".

A federal judge in Arkansas issued an injunction Saturday halting the execution by lethal injection of nine inmates, saying the prisoners will likely succeed in demonstrating the state's proposed method of execution is unconstitutional.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said she would seek an immediate review of the state high court's ruling, but did not indicate where.

The director of the Arkansas Department of Correction, Wendy Kelley, testified this week that Arkansas was not charged for its current supply of potassium chloride.

During four days of hearings that lasted into the evening last week, anesthesiologists testified in Baker's court that midazolam does not block pain; that the second drug meant to stop the person from breathing can leave him gasping for breath; and that the third drug meant to stop the person's heart from beating can produce burning pain.

A former warden of Florida State Prison said his own mental health had begun to deteriorate by the time he left his position in 1998 after taking part in eight executions. A state judge earlier Friday blocked the state from using a lethal injection drug, a move that could also halt the executions altogether.

In federal court testimony over the past week, doctors differed on whether midazolam is an appropriate execution drug, though the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that it is.

The prison's "execution protocol and policies fail to contain adequate safeguards that mitigate some of the risk presented by using midazolam and trying to execute that many inmates in such a short period of time", Baker wrote in her opinion. "Attorney General Rutledge intends to file an emergency request with the Arkansas Supreme Court to vacate the order as soon as possible".

"While everyone is happy with the ruling, Judge Baker's, we know that it's not over", Short said.