Arkansas court allows state to use execution drug

9 Death Row Inmates Turn to SCOTUS Request Emergency Stays of Execution

9 Death Row Inmates Turn to SCOTUS Request Emergency Stays of Execution

"The Arkansas Supreme Court in 2004 unanimously rejected an identical argument brought by inmate Stacey Johnson, but today, by a vote of four to three, the court has without legal explanation blocked the execution of an individual sentenced by two different juries", Rutledge said.

Arkansas officials say such an order effectively blocks all the scheduled executions because they have been unable to get more of that drug, which is used as a paralytic as part of the state's three-drug lethal-injection procedure.

The Correction Department purchased the drugs using the license of an Arkansas doctor, Tull said, and company records presented to the judge showed the sale had been conducted under the license of Dr. Robert Allen Floss, a family practitioner who is also regional medical director of Correct Care Solutions, the company contracted to provide health care services to the state's prison system. The U.S. Supreme Court declined Arkansas' request to lift one of the stays.

Arkansas suffered two more legal setbacks Wednesday in its unprecedented plan to carry out multiple executions this month when the state supreme court halted one and a judge later ruled that the state can not use one of its drugs in any executions.

Johnson and Ledell Lee, the other prisoner who was scheduled to be executed tonight, both say they are innocent.

But Arkansas has encountered multiple legal roadblocks, and the latest ruling from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray over the drug vecuronium bromide upends the entire schedule.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed responses with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit regarding inmates Lee and Johnson's requests to stay their respective executions.

McKesson Medical-Surgical Inc., an arm of health care giant McKesson Corp., claims in a lawsuit that it was tricked into selling the state 10 bottles of vecuronium bromide previous year by prison officials who knew they were taking advantage of one of its salesmen by making the purchase.

The Arkansas Supreme Court said in a 4-3 ruling that it would not reconsider its decision to stay Johnson's execution. But five other inmates could still face lethal injection before the end of the month. The state is expected to appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

So far the state of Arkansas has been unable to carry out any of the eight planned executions this month.

. In fact, the court ordered Griffin removed from all death penalty cases after photos emerged of him participating in a rally against the executions. However, two court orders issued Wednesday could derail the state's plans. Once the written order was filed, the state asked for an emergency stay of that order. "I know that this is disappointing and hard for Carol Heath's family and her two children who were home at the time of the murder".

Deere, the attorney general's spokesman, said the state was reviewing its options regarding Johnson's case. In text messages from Jenkins' phone, which came up at Wednesday's court hearing, there is no mention that the drug would be used in executions. A spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Corrections declined to comment on McKesson's claims, but the state argued in court filings that the company "willingly sold a drug. and then experienced seller's remorse".

An aggressive effort by the state of Arkansas to carry out its first executions since 2005 stalled for the second time this week as courts blocked two lethal injections planned for Thursday, prompting Gov. Asa Hutchinson to express frustration at legal delaying tactics.

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