Arkansas asks court to lift inmate's stay

The inmates filed paperwork Sunday asking the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to consider their claims that Baker rejected.

The state Attorney General's Office said it would seek to have Griffen's order overturn in the state Supreme Court. "We are calling on state officials to accept the federal court's decision, cancel the frantic execution schedule, and propose a legal and humane method to carry out its executions".

The state originally planned to execute eight inmates, but two had previously been blocked by state and federal courts. But prison officials and state attorneys say waiting now would put the state's death penalty on hold indefinitely.

"I understand how hard this is on the victims' families, and my heart goes out to them as they once again deal with the continued court review; however, the last minute court reviews are all part of the hard process of death penalty cases", the governor's statement read. The executions are set to begin Monday, April 17.

On Saturday, the plaintiff in that drug case, citing Baker's decision, asked that the temporary restraining order be withdrawn. Medical experts who testified before Baker said that the final drug, potassium chloride, causes considerable pain when injected and is typically diluted when given to patients. Arkansas was set to execute the first two inmates by lethal injection on Monday night.

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In the brief, the court said that the Arkansas Department of Correction "misled McKesson when it procured the Vecuronium". She also said the protocol doesn't lay out what executioners intend to do to ensure that the inmates are unconscious.

Many pharmaceutical companies, particularly in Europe, have banned their use for executions.

"I$3 f the ADC can not use the vecuronium bromide for the scheduled executions, then the executions can not go forward", she wrote.

"Within an hour of granting the TRO [temporary restraining order], Judge Griffen was photographed at a second anti-death penalty rally - this one at the Governor's Mansion, where Judge Griffen lay strapped down to a cot to simulate the experience of a condemned prisoner on a gurney", Rutledge wrote. A state judge Friday directed Arkansas to not use its current supply of vecuronium bromide pending a hearing Tuesday on whether it was obtained properly, though McKesson said Saturday that, with Baker's stays, it no longer needs the hearing. She ordered the state to return on Monday with a revised execution plan.

The lawyers said it was wrong for Baker to write that the inmates "did not establish a significant possibility of success on the merits on their claim that the compressed execution schedule is contrary to the evolving standards of decency".

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The company has said it sold the drug to be used for medical purposes, not executions.

Hutchinson spokesman J.R. Davis fired back after Sister Prejean tweeted, "Jesus was a convicted criminal executed by the state". "And so we honor the oath, but we don't lose our humanity", Judge Griffen said.

On social media, death penalty proponents reacted vehemently to the court rulings. They called on him to recuse from further execution cases and demanded that he be punished for joining the protests.

The governor went into considerable detail about the gruesome murders behind some inmates' death sentences, saying victims' families were being forgotten.

"The court is mindful of the fact that the state of Arkansas has not executed an inmate since 2005, despite consistent support for capital punishment from (Arkansas residents) and their elected representatives", she wrote. The U.S. judge has yet to issue a ruling on the broader case.

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  • Ryan Wade