Arkansas Judge Halts Executions As Inmates Challenge Law

Oct 9, 2015

Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen.
Credit PBS

An Arkansas judge has halted the executions of eight death row inmates, dealing a blow to the state's efforts to begin putting prisoners to death for the first time in a decade.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen's ruling Friday came in a case in which the inmates are challenging a new Arkansas law allowing the state to withhold any information that could publicly identify the manufacturers or sellers of its execution drugs.

A lawyer for the inmates argued that the new secrecy law put them at risk of enduring unconstitutional suffering during their executions because the drugs' safety and effectiveness couldn't be vetted. He also said the state agreed in a prior settlement to reveal the drug information to the inmates before their executions.