Arkansas execution plan again thrown into doubt

FILE- In this Aug. 18 2015 file

FILE- In this Aug. 18 2015 file

The Arkansas Supreme Court late on Wednesday stayed the execution of Stacey Johnson, one of two inmates due to die on Thursday, and returned his case to the trial court for reconsideration of potential DNA evidence, handing the state another obstacle as it tried to execute eight prisoners in 10 days.

Makers of midazolam and potassium chloride - the two other drugs in Arkansas' execution plan - asked to file briefs with the state Supreme Court on Thursday.

A paralytic that affects the respiratory system, it has recognized medical applications, but in executions, it is used to stop the condemned inmate's breathing.

"In its efforts to "enforce the law" Arkansas has ridden roughshod over private companies' legal agreements and the interests of Arkansas patients, and today's ruling shows this will not pass unchallenged".

Arkansas officials have said the executions must be conducted before the state's supply of another drug, midazolam, expires on May 1. But the ADC has failed to do, according to the drug supplier.

The state Supreme Court on Monday lifted Griffen's order and prohibited the judge from considering any death penalty-related cases.

The highest courts in Arkansas and the USA could put the executions back on track, but for now Arkansas faces an uphill battle to put any inmate to death before the end of April, when one of its lethal injection drugs expires. This came after Johnson claimed additional DNA testing in his case could prove he was innocent.

"When I set the dates, I knew there could be delays in one or more of the cases, but I expected the courts to allow the juries' sentences to be carried out since each case had been reviewed multiple times by the Arkansas Supreme Court, which affirmed the guilt of each", Hutchinson said. But death penalty appeals nearly always are referred to the entire court.

The state attorney general's office has been tenacious, but so far unsuccessful, in its work to overturn the numerous legal challenges to the executions.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he was "surprised and disappointed" by Wednesday's state Supreme Court stay of Johnson's execution. The first two executions were canceled because of court decisions.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said the state supreme court ruling was "without legal explanation" and that she was evaluating her options.

In the drug case, a state prison official testified that he deliberately ordered the drug past year in a way that there wouldn't be a paper trail, relying on phone calls and text messages.

Inmates Bruce Ward (top row L to R), Don Davis, Ledell Lee, Stacy Johnson, Jack Jones (bottom row L to R), Marcel Williams, Kenneth Williams and Jason Mcgehee are shown in these booking photo provided.

Arkansas had scheduled eight executions over an 11-day period before the end of April, when its supply of a different lethal injection drug expires.

Also still pending before the U.S. Supreme Court is an appeal by all eight prisoners contending that the compressed execution schedule increases the likelihood of a botched lethal injection.

Jenkins testified that Griffin never told him what the drug would be used for and that his personal beliefs would have prevented him from selling a drug he knew was going to be used for executions.

Arkansas' attempt to carry out its first execution in almost 12 years wasn't thwarted by the type of liberal activist judge Republicans regularly bemoan here, but instead by a state Supreme Court that's been the focus of expensive campaigns by conservative groups to reshape the judiciary.

Recommended News

  • Leishman and Smith five back at RBC Heritage

    Leishman and Smith five back at RBC Heritage

    Competing for his first PGA Tour win at the tricky Pete Dye layout proved too daunting for the inexperienced Schniederjans. DeLaet was second after a 69, his third straight sub-70 round after having just five in five previous appearances here.
    Leicester went down fighting in Champions League quarterfinals

    Leicester went down fighting in Champions League quarterfinals

    Shakespeare's tactical change was "fantastic", he said, and it had been "almost a pleasure to compete" against Leicester. However, Leicester themselves threatened on the break, with Shinji Okazaki firing over from a Riyad Mahrez pass.
    Babri Masjid case: Advani, Joshi meet after SC orders trial against them

    Babri Masjid case: Advani, Joshi meet after SC orders trial against them

    Mar 6, 2017: SC indicates it may consider reviving conspiracy charge against the BJP leaders in Babri Masjid demolition case. The other named BJP leaders Advani, M M Joshi and others for allegedly giving "communal" speeches before demolition.
  • 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.
    FCC votes to allow some broadcasters to buy more TV stations

    FCC votes to allow some broadcasters to buy more TV stations

    Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said the ruling "opens the door to immediate price hikes" to small businesses. First adopted in 1985, it has allowed media companies to count only half the coverage area reach of their UHF stations.
    Chaffetz may not finish final term in Congress

    Chaffetz may not finish final term in Congress

    Chaffetz said he has the full support of House Speaker Paul Ryan to continue as Chairman of the Oversight Committee. He said that after more than 1,500 nights away from home, "it is time" to step aside. "I am healthy.
  • Washington Wizards start in the right direction in Game 1

    The teams split the two regular season meetings in Atlanta with Washington winning the most recent meeting 112-86 on January 27. He justifiably was criticized for his Game 1 performance by Hawks fans. "All you've got to do is win 16 games", Howard said.
    U.S.  crude oil stocks drop

    U.S. crude oil stocks drop

    Stockpiles expanded to 535.5 million barrels at the end of March, the highest in weekly data compiled by Bloomberg since 1982. Oil prices extended losses Wednesday as official data showed the first weekly climb in US gasoline supplies in two months.
    May's Conservatives lead in latest election YouGov poll

    May's Conservatives lead in latest election YouGov poll

    Shortly after she came into power, May said with some certainty that no general election would be held before 2020, as scheduled. She said she was confident of reaching a deal in that time frame. "It's about. getting the right deal from Europe", May said.
  • 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.

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's ouster a priority for US: Nikki Haley

    In Damascus, dozens of Syrian students gathered outside the offices of the United Nations to protest the USA missile attack. In one interview, Tillerson said he sees no reason for retaliation from Russian Federation for the USA missile strikes .
    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".

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.