The 8 inmates Arkansas was set to execute starting Monday

19 April, 2017, 09:38 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Federal judge issues order to block Arkansas executions

Both men are scheduled for execution April 17, 2017.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker granted the inmates stays of execution on Saturday, but she rejected their arguments that there was too little time between executions.

Lawyers for the inmates challenged the use of midazolam, which was involved in flawed executions elsewhere, as well as the shortened timeframe.

The state's drug supply is set to expire at the end of April. The Arkansas Supreme Court has halted the execution of Ward, one of two inmates facing lethal injection Monday under the state's multiple execution plan.

"We have worked round the clock for the last couple of weeks and particularly in the last couple of days, as judges have made decisions and court cases have been filed in these pieces of litigation, to ensure again that justice is carried out for these families of the victims", Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge told Little Rock NBC-affiliate KARK.

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On Sunday, a federal judge in western Arkansas rejected a separate stay request from death row inmate Don Davis, who was originally scheduled to be put to death Monday. A state court judge on Friday blocked Arkansas from using one of its three lethal injection drugs until he can determine whether it was obtained properly, and a federal judge on Saturday issued stays of all the executions.

Despite several court rulings that put its plans in jeopardy, Arkansas hopes to go ahead with the executions of six men between Monday and April 27, which would be a pace exceeded only by Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reauthorized the death penalty in 1976.

His attorneys argued in their lawsuit filed March 29 that Ward is unfit for execution because he suffers from schizophrenia, but Ms. Rutledge accused the defense of trying to game the system. The complaint was later dropped with the company noting that the restraining order was no longer needed after Baker's order.

"I understand how hard this is on the victims' families, and my heart goes out to them as they once again deal with the continued court review", the Republican governor explained.

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