Arkansas appeals decision blocking executions

20 April, 2017, 10:27 | Author: Benny Bass

(Sherry Simon via AP).

This combination of file photos provided by the Arkansas. But the ruling did not change the situation because Baker's order had already halted all the executions.

(AP Photo/Kelly P. Kissel).

(Stephen B. Thornton/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP).

Arkansas inmates who had been set for execution this month want a federal appeals court to take up their claim that the compressed timetable would violate "evolving standards of decency".

Bruce Earl Ward and Don William Davis Jr. were scheduled to die Monday night in the first two of eight executions over 11 days.

Baker's ruling added to a list of roadblocks for the state, following a stay of execution of another inmate, 24 hours earlier.

We also got a statement from the Arkansas Department of Correction: despite Saturday's ruling and the others that are expected, they are proceeding with preparations and will be ready to carry out that first execution on Monday.

Attorneys argued that Ward, 60, should not be executed because he's mentally incompetent.

An Arkansas judge has blocked the state from using a lethal injection drug in its upcoming executions of six men after a company says the drug wasn't sold to be used for capital punishment.

Drugmakers have largely objected to having their products used in executions and have refused to sell to prisons for that goal. "We are calling 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". Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office said she planned to file an emergency request with the state Supreme Court to vacate Griffen's order, saying Griffen shouldn't handle the case.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson initially scheduled eight executions for the 11-day period, but other court action reduced the number of executions to six.

In a response filed with the court late on Saturday, State Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said that all of the issues raised by the condemned inmates had been previously and litigated.

"Certainly up to the judges and up to the Arkansas Supreme Court when they will hand down their decisions", Rutledge said. A drug supplier, meanwhile, asked a state judge to lift a temporary restraining order preventing Arkansas from using a paralyzing drug, vecuronium bromide, and sought to drop its lawsuit claiming Arkansas obtained the drug under false pretenses. After that, officials say finding a supplier willing to allow the drug to be used to kill someone will be exceptionally hard. Photos and video showed Griffen strapped to a cot, appearing to mimic a death row inmate on a gurney.

Prior to Baker's ruling, one of the eight executions was set aside because Arkansas didn't allow for a full 30-day comment period after the inmate won a clemency recommendation.

The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty's Friday rally comes as a federal judge weighs whether to grant the inmates' requests to block their upcoming executions.

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.

The judge also faulted the state's policy of not letting lawyers have access to the inmates at the time of their deaths and said the inmates could raise challenges about the drugs to be used. They say in their filings that the stays should be reversed immediately so Arkansas can carry out the executions before one of its lethal injection drugs expires at the end of the month.

"This expiration date is directly linked to the state's urgency to execute eight men in ten days", said the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty in a statement.

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