Arkansas prepping for lethal injections despite halt from courts

Kari Scott
Апреля 18, 2017

The state was still moving forward with plans to conduct the Monday night executions in the event that all stays were lifted.

Defense attorney Jeff Rosenzweig, who represents three of the men the state is looking to execute, argues Arkansas' rush to complete the executions is unconstitutional and "reeks of an assembly line".

A federal appeals court dissolved a stay that had been issued by a federal judge, but other legal obstacles remain in state courts.

On Wednesday (April 12), the death row inmate made the court filing in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.

The inmates' attorneys say they were denied access to independent mental health experts.

A different federal judge has issued a stay for one of the eight condemned prisoners and the state Supreme Court has issued one for another inmate.

Former Arkansas death row inmate Damien Echols talks with the media before speaking at a rally opposing Arkansas' upcoming executions, which are set to begin next week, on the front steps of the Capitol Friday, April 14, 2017, in Little Rock, Ark. No state had executed that many individuals in such a short time frame.

The case involving the drug was reassigned to another judge shortly after the Supreme Court issued its order Monday.

"I don't think we would have acquired the drugs that we have without that confidentiality agreement", Hutchinson said.

Baker found that there was a significant possibility the inmates challenging the Arkansas death penalty would succeed in establishing a substantial risk of severe pain, satisfying the first prong of Glossip.

"Appellees have had multiple opportunities to challenge their convictions, sentences, and - critically - their method of execution".

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If court proceedings are pushed into May, officials won't be able to carry out the executions with the drugs they have on hand.

The prisoners' lawyers say the midazolam would not prevent the inmates from feeling excruciating pain as their lungs and heart shut down.

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.

West-Ward was named by The Associated Press as the likely manufacturer of the state's midazolam, used to sedate an inmate.

Despite some legal setbacks, state officials had hopes earlier in the day that the executions still could begin at 7 p.m. CT.

Numerous executions have been placed in legal limbo in recent years after challenges based on the source of the drugs.

It's also appealing Griffen's order that the prison system not use a paralyzing drug until he could determine whether the state obtained it properly. It said Thursday that it issued Arkansas a refund of its purchase price, but that the drug wasn't returned.

Arkansas' execution plan has been met with widespread criticism.

. The company said it'll continue efforts to have the drug returned.

But Baker's decision isn't the only legal roadblock that the state faces as it looks to execute its first inmate since 2005. He ran twice unsuccessfully for state Supreme Court - including a bid for chief justice in 2004. She said the relatives of victims have waited for years to see executions, but, "by this order, that day is delayed again". Death penalty critics have cited the case as a reason to oppose capital punishment.

The judge determined that their concerns were sufficient to halt the executions for the time being, to allow the issue to be considered by the courts.

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