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U.S. Supreme Court
Wikipedia

A group of Arkansas inmates is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block upcoming executions in the state, citing concerns with one of the lethal injection drugs.

The request was filed Wednesday by the eight inmates for whom Gov. Asa Hutchinson scheduled execution dates this month. A ninth death-row inmate who does not have a scheduled execution date also signed on to the request.

An Arkansas judge who participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration after issuing an order blocking the state's executions is defending the move, saying his ruling was guided by property law and not his views on capital punishment.

Lawyers for Arkansas inmates condemned to die Thursday in a planned double execution are claiming they are innocent and one of them says advanced DNA techniques could show he didn't kill a woman in 1993.

Their strategy to win stays is in marked contrast to the first two inmates who faced the death chamber and were spared Monday by arguing they should not be put to death because of mental health issues.

A medical supply company is suing again to try and prevent Arkansas from using a lethal injection drug in the upcoming executions of two convicted killers, saying it was sold to be used for medical purposes.

McKesson Corp. asked a Pulaski County judge Tuesday to order Arkansas officials to return its supply of vecuronium bromide, one of three drugs used in the state's lethal injection protocol. The company has said prison officials misleadingly obtained the drug.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has lifted an order that effectively blocked the state's plan to execute eight men by the end of the month, but a stay remains in place for two inmates facing executions Monday night.

Justices on Monday granted the state's motion to lift a Pulaski County judge's order prohibiting the state from using its supply of vecuronium bromide, one of three drugs used in the lethal injection protocol. A medical supply company said it was misled by the state and that the drug was sold to be used for medical purposes, not executions.

A divided Arkansas Supreme Court granted stays of executions for two Arkansas inmates while the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a separate case next week concerning access to independent mental health experts by defendants.

Wendell Griffen
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Supreme Court is barring a judge who blocked the state's multiple executions plan from taking up any death penalty related cases after he participated in a protest where he appeared to mimic an inmate about to receive lethal injection drugs.

Justices on Monday reassigned the cases from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen. The judge last week prohibited the state from using a lethal injection drug a supplier said was misleadingly obtained. Griffen participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration after issuing the ruling Friday.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has reissued its order that halted the execution of one of the first inmates facing lethal injection under the state's multiple execution plan.

The reissued order Monday clarifies that three of the four justices would have denied the request for a stay for Bruce Earl Ward. The court has not ruled on the state's request to reconsider that stay.

Ward was convicted of killing a convenience store clerk. He had been scheduled to die Monday night under the state's plan to put eight inmates to death before the end of the month.

Lawyers for the state of Arkansas fought on multiple legal fronts Monday to begin a series of double executions before a key sedative used in lethal injections expires at the end of the month.

Arkansas Death Chamber Lethal Injection
Arkansas Department of Correction

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."

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.

Arkansas originally planned to execute eight inmates between Monday and April 27 and is appealing the ruling.

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