Arkansas Executions 2017

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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.

Central Arkansas Congressman appeared before constituents in a town hall format for the first time of the Trump era on Monday. Hill faced a raucous, but politically split crowd. He was joined by U.S. Senator Tom Cotton.

The Republican senator said he talked with Governor Asa Hutchinson that morning about executions originally slated to begin Monday evening.

“I told him that I 100 percent support his decision to execute the verdict that was rendered by a jury of his peers,” said Cotton to a mix of jeers and cheers.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed several executions scheduled over the next ten days in Arkansas to proceed. The order by the three judge panel* lifts the stay by U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker that was issued over the weekend.

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 in Little Rock has stayed the executions of eight inmates scheduled this month. The ruling came down Saturday morning granting a preliminary injunction in the case.

The inmates had argued the state’s lethal injection protocol creates a risk of severe pain, and federal Judge Kristine Baker agreed, while expressing regret for the further delay caused to families of the inmates’ victims.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen put a separate stay on the use of one of the execution drugs Friday, after a manufacturer filed suit to block its use.  Two other inmates had also received separate individual stays.

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