Arkansas Judicial System

Lawyers for eight death row inmates in Arkansas say their challenge of the state's execution procedures should warrant a U.S. Supreme Court review that would likely revisit the high court's ruling on an Oklahoma case.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled against the inmates last month, but their lawyers want the court to withhold a final order pending a possible U.S. Supreme Court review. Part of the Arkansas ruling was based on the U.S. Supreme Court approving the use of midazolam in executions.

File photo: Governor Asa Hutchinson in the Governor's Conference Room of the state Capitol.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is hoping Arkansas will resume executing death row inmates before January, when one of the three drugs used in the state’s lethal injection mixture will expire. 

Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Scores of young people made up the bulk of a diverse crowd about 200 on the state Capitol steps on Friday, calling for an end to police violence against African-Americans. The show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement came after the latest round of national incidents involving police officers killing seemingly cooperative young, black men. Organizers under the auspices of Hands Up, Guns Down also unequivocally condemned the killing of police officers in Dallas.

Eight death row inmates are asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to uphold a state law that keeps information about lethal injection drugs secret from the public. Attorneys for the inmates filed a petition on Thursday. Justices say the request to reconsider will be addressed before the court’s ruling goes into effect.

Governor Asa Hutchinson said he is proceeding as planned to resume executions.

Arkansas' stockpile of a paralytic drug needed for the executions of eight death row inmates will expire at midnight Thursday, leaving the state without a means to resume executions for the first time in a decade.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says she will request new execution dates for eight death row inmates after the Arkansas Supreme Court uphold the state's execution secrecy law. 

McPherson Prison Unit in Newport.
Arkansas Department Of Correction

A preliminary trial date has been set for a former Arkansas women's prison chaplain charged with 50 counts of sexual assault after authorities say he coerced three inmates into engaging in sexual acts.

Kenneth Dewitt has pleaded not guilty to the charges. A Jackson County Circuit Court judge agreed Wednesday to combine the charges brought on behalf of the three women into one trial, preliminarily set for Aug. 11.

Attorneys for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland want to amend a lawsuit challenging Arkansas' abortion restrictions, including dropping a challenge to a law requiring abortion pill providers to follow U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A former Arkansas Treasurer's office employee is asking to move part of his defamation lawsuit against Treasurer Dennis Milligan and Milligan Chief of Staff Jim Harris to state court.

Former employee David Singer filed a motion in federal court Wednesday asking to move his Whistleblower Act claim and other state-based claims to circuit court. Singer argues the state waived a portion of its immunity claims when it requested to move the matter to federal court.

The director of the state agency responsible for housing and treating Arkansas' youth offenders has announced his resignation.

The Department of Human Services announced Thursday that its Division of Youth Services director, Marcus Devine, had resigned. Spokeswoman Amy Webb says Devine met with staff Thursday to announce he was leaving immediately for a position in the private sector.