Arkansas death row inmates seek Supreme Court relief

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Two Arkansas inmates set to die this week in a double execution filed more legal challenges Wednesday, but so far the pair is hitting roadblocks as a judge weighs a new attempt to prevent the state from using one of its lethal injection drugs in what would be the state's first executions in almost a dozen years.

In a 4-3 ruling, the court found that Stacey Johnson should be allowed to prove his innocence based on more DNA testing.

Representatives from the attorney general's office were at the state Supreme Court on Thursday hoping justices would overturn a decision by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray that halted the use of vecuronium bromide in any execution. That would be the most in the United States in as short a period since the death penalty's reinstatement in 1976. The State of Arkansas also argued that granted this restraining order would essentially cause a stay of execution, which the state said Judge Gray didn't have the authority to do.

The execution of a third inmate, Jason McGehee, had been set for April 27, but a federal judge put it on hold earlier this month, saying McGehee was entitled to a 30-day comment period after the Arkansas Parole Board told the governor that the inmate's clemency request had merit.

A deputy director of the Arkansas prison system says he deliberately ordered an execution drug in a way so there wouldn't be a paper trail.

McKesson Medical-Surgical - a pharmaceutical supply company - claims that the Arkansas Department of Corrections duped them into providing 100 vials of the second drug in the lethal injection protocol, vecuronium bromide, believing they were providing it for medicinal reasons. The company sued to stop Arkansas from using the drug in the planned lethal injections, and a hearing over that issue was underway in Little Rock on Wednesday afternoon. In text messages from Jenkins' phone, which came up at a court hearing Wednesday, there is no mention that the drug would be used in executions.

Rosenzweig also represents two other inmates scheduled to die this month - Jack Jones and Kenneth Williams. But the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that order Monday, and the inmates appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. McGuire's execution lasted 25 minutes, the longest in Ohio's history, and witnesses said he "gasped several times throughout" before dying. The attorney for Davis and Ward requested stays of execution until the US Supreme Court rules on an upcoming case concerning defendant access to independent mental health experts. On Tuesday, a state judge denied the DNA test for Lee.

Johnson was convicted in Arkansas of the 1993 murder and sexual assault of Carol Heath.

It was unclear whether Rutledge would appeal the stay of execution for Johnson to the U.S. Supreme Court after the state lost an appeal to the high court on a case involving another inmate Monday night. But courts have blocked three of those executions from going forward. "It is inconceivable that this court, with the facts and the law well established, stays these executions over speculation that the (U.S.) Supreme Court might change the law". The state and its lawyers say the inmates are seeking any legal approach they can find to avoid death.

On the April 18 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, host Jon Scott opened a panel discussion by asking, "The reasoning for this holdup has nothing to do with the lethal injection drugs that are currently in question, right?"

Recommended News

  • Arkansas executions temporarily on hold

    Arkansas executions temporarily on hold

    The state set such a compressed schedule because its supply of one of the lethal injection drugs expires at the end of April. One of the three dissenting judges issued a blistering criticism of Monday's ruling sparing the first two condemned inmates.

    Zuckerberg has Some Ambitious Plans for Facebook

    Facebook today announced it will launch an augmented reality developer platform that will change the way we use our phones. Facebook will raise the bar by doing so, especially to compete against Snap Inc, the maker of Snapchat.
    VP Pence's message to North Korea: 'The sword stands ready'

    VP Pence's message to North Korea: 'The sword stands ready'

    While tensions continue on the Korean peninsula, two US allies are cooperating on a regional dispute of a very different kind. The UK has sent more than £4 million in foreign aid to North Korea over the past six years, it has emerged.
  • United States  tax reform coming soon, Treasury Sec. Mnuchin says

    United States tax reform coming soon, Treasury Sec. Mnuchin says

    Mnuchin's staff has already met with more than a dozen focus groups to hear ideas on areas of improvement, he said. Trump has asked Mnuchin to review regulations and find ways to lessen the burden on businesses.

    Ex-Patriots player Aaron Hernandez found dead in prison cell

    His death is being investigated by the state police and the Department of Correction. Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bed sheet that he attached to his cell window.
    15 held in anti-Trump 'Tax March' across the United States

    15 held in anti-Trump 'Tax March' across the United States

    Ever since he started running, the real estate tycoon has refused to voluntarily release his tax returns like his predecessors. When asked about Trump's taxes on CNN's "Wolf", the House Republican said releasing the returns was "the right thing to do".
  • Walcott sorry for letting down Arsenal fans

    Walcott sorry for letting down Arsenal fans

    Walcott, 28, faced the media after the defeat, where he apologised to supporters for the manner in which they were beaten. We had comments as well and we did get it independently looked at by a company who identified respect for Arsene Wenger.
    Honor Bee 2 Released, Smartphone Bears a 4.5-Inch Display

    Honor Bee 2 Released, Smartphone Bears a 4.5-Inch Display

    Alleged renders of the upcoming Huawei Honor 9 leaked earlier this morning giving us a glimpse at the smartphone's design. As the name suggests, this new smartphone is the successor to the Honor Bee, which was launched back in 2015.

    European Union says Brexit negotiations will start after British election

    Sentiments shared by many British people today! "The other thing that really resonates with me is the timing is very important". Montgomeryshire MP, Glyn Davies, said the Prime Minister had been left with "little choice" due to frustration over Brexit .
  • Pacers playoff picture still unclear

    In regard to improving this Brooklyn team, Atkinson emphasized, "I'm so focused on how we can get the guys on our roster better ". At one point, Brooklyn was down by 21 points, as the Nets trailed the Bulls 43-22 with five minutes left in the first half.
    Trump brags about GOP barely avoiding disaster in Georgia race

    Trump brags about GOP barely avoiding disaster in Georgia race

    Late Tuesday night, President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations to Georgia Republicans and celebrated a victory. The special election was called after Trump named its congressman, Republican Tom Price, as health secretary.

    Petitions to cancel Turkey vote result rejected

    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also suggested holding a referendum on whether to bring back capital punishment. The board met for seven hours Wednesday before rejecting the request.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.