USA supreme court forces Arkansas to halt first in string of executions

An Arkansas inmate set to die by lethal injection Monday remains alive after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against lifting a stay of execution.

Scott Braden, Arkansas Assistant Federal Defense Attorney who represents Ward, said executing either man before the Supreme Court's decision would be "profoundly arbitrary and unjust". "But other 5 scheduled this week could still happen", the Catholic Mobilizing Network, which works to end capital punishment, tweeted April 18. In fact, it was his second "last meal", the first coming in 2010 before his execution was stayed at the last minute.

Stacey Johnson - convicted of murdering Carol Heath, who was beaten, strangled and had her throat slit in 1993.

Davis' death sentence was for the 1990 death of Rogers, Arkansas resident Jane Daniel. His group was filing an appeal before the Arkansas Supreme Court on that basis.

Arkansas appealed the stay on Davis, but did not pursue Ward's case.

Arkansas appealed the stay in Davis' case to the U.S. Supreme Court Monday evening, hoping to still go through with the execution that night.

Neither of the men were put to death.

The state of Arkansas has moved forward with its attempt to begin a series of double executions despite rulings in state and federal courts that the inmates are entitled to additional appeals.

Governor Asa Hutchinson said the state would continue to push for the other lethal injections to be carried out.

McKesson alleges that it filled the state's order for the drug under the notion that ADC would use it for "legitimate medical objective, consistent with Arkansas State Medical Board Regulations", which state in part that licensed physicians can not administer risky or controlled drugs to someone for a reason other than a legitimate medical goal.

McKesson alleges that the Arkansas Department of Corrections illegally obtained certain the execution drug Vecuronium in July 2016, by not disclosing they were buying the drug with the intent to execute prisoners. However, one of the stipulations is that the company cannot sell the drug to federal and state correctional facilities that engage in capital punishment. This photo provided by Sherry Simon shows Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen taking part of an anti-death penalty demonstration outside the Governor's Mansion Friday, April 14, 2017 in Little Rock, Ark.

On Monday, the Arkansas Supreme Court forbade Griffin from hearing death penalty-related cases, and referred him to the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission to discover if he violated a state code of judicial conduct.

McKesson originally sued Arkansas last week but withdrew the complaint after a federal court on Saturday temporarily blocked the 11-day plan for eight executions. Sotomayor has been the court's leading critic of midazolam; Breyer has questioned the constitutionality of capital punishment.

While lethal injection was meant to be painless, death-penalty opponents say the risk of badly botched executions, with inmates writhing in agony for long minutes, is unacceptably high. But they are on a tight schedule: Executions were scheduled to begin Monday night, and if the legal proceedings take more than two weeks, the midazolam supply will have expired before any of the executions can take place.

One appellate judge dissented from the eighth circuit's decision.

"Allowing (Davis') stay to stand will effectively prevent Arkansas from seeing justice done", Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Larry Hoffman