In addition to the Department of Correction, the lawsuit named the department's head, Wendy Kelly, and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson as defendants. Two death row inmates won reprieves on Monday, but five others still face execution in the coming days.
"A drug's expiration date should not be the contingent factor for the expedited execution of these eight men", Catholic Mobilizing Network stated. Witnesses were also reportedly being shuffled into the execution chamber when the decision was released.
(Sherry Simon via AP).
But amid public opposition to the death penalty, including protests in the state capital Little Rock including actor Johnny Depp and a judge linked to one of the cases, lawyers obtained stays for three of the executions.
(Stephen B. Thornton/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP).
Hutchinson and state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge have been pushing to carry out the executions anyway.
(AP Photo/Kelly P. Kissel).
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 this booking photo provided March 21, 2017. On Tuesday, a state judge denied the DNA test for Lee. Wright wrote that he won't substitute his own judgment "for that of the jurors two decades removed".
Arkansas is making preparations for a series of executions that, as of late morning Monday, it is legally barred from carrying out.
A death row inmate in the USA state of Arkansas ate what could be his last meal on Monday amid legal wrangling over his fate. Johnson, a black man, was sentenced for the 1993 murder of a white woman. But the Arkansas court's choice to stop Davis' execution could extend his case for much longer, perhaps years, because the state is on the verge of having part of its drug supply lapse. After a legal back-and-forth in multiple courts, his life was spared by the state Supreme Court on Monday evening. Capital punishment in several states was stymied by problems with lethal-injection drugs and legal questions over their protocols.
The state scheduled the executions to occur before its supply of midazolam expires at the end of the month; Arkansas has not found a new supplier of the drug. A significant delay in these arguments could indefinitely halt these executions since the state's supply of Midazolam will run out at the end of the month and state officials have said they have no source to obtain a further supply of the sedative. The drug has been linked to horrifically botched executions in Arizona, Alabama, and Oklahoma.
A 101-page order that a federal judge filed early Saturday to block the executions was reversed Monday by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
McKesson Medical-Surgical Inc. on Tuesday filed a complaint in Pulaski County Circuit Court seeking a temporary restraining order or injunction "to prevent the use of our product for something other than a legitimate medical goal", it said in a statement. He is also serving prison time for the rapes of a woman and teen from Jacksonville. The lawyers say Ward has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenia while Davis has an IQ low enough to be considered to have an intellectual disability.
The state attorney general's office says there are no current legal obstacles to executing Lee as scheduled.
The US Supreme Court left in place a stay of execution for an Arkansas inmate, refusing to overrule the state supreme court.
Later, in 1994, Arkansas was the site of the nation's first triple execution in 32 years.