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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.

Wendell Griffen
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Arkansas' attorney general is asking the state's highest court to vacate a judge's ruling that blocks the state from using one of its lethal injection drugs.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge also wants to remove the judge from the case after he participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration the day he issued his decision.

A federal judge has halted Arkansas' already compromised plan to execute several inmates over an 11-day period starting next week.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Saturday granted a preliminary injunction requested by the inmates to block the executions. Arkansas was set to execute the first inmate by lethal injection on Monday night.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has halted the execution of one of two inmates facing lethal injection Monday under the state's multiple execution plan.

Justices on Friday issued a stay in the execution of Bruce Ward, one of seven inmates the state plans to put to death before the end of the month. Ward's attorneys had asked for the stay after a Jefferson County judge said she didn't have the authority to halt Ward's execution.

Arkansas Death Chamber Lethal Injection
Arkansas Department of Correction

Two pharmaceutical companies are asking a federal judge to prevent Arkansas from using its drugs in the planned execution of seven death row inmates later this month.

Fresenius Kabi USA and West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corp. were granted permission Thursday to file a friend of the court brief in a lawsuit filed by the inmates aimed at halting the executions.

Fresenius Kabi said it appears the potassium chloride Arkansas plans to use in its three-drug protocol was manufactured by the company and may have been acquired improperly.

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