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vegassports-odds.com September 26, 2017


Arkansas execution plan again thrown into doubt

20 April 2017, 11:41 | Winston Chapman

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.

Pharmaceuticals companies and other suppliers have objected to their drugs being used in executions and have been trying to stop states from getting supplies for lethal injections. Prisons director Wendy Kelley has said the state has no way to obtain more midazolam or vecuronium bromide. It's become very hard for states to get the drugs for executions because multinational manufacturers oppose their use in that way. Spokespersons for Fresenius Kabi and West-Ward told The Washington Post that they had "recently learned" that their medicines "might be used in Arkansas lethal injections".

It was unclear if Attorney General Leslie 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.

Gray's ruling mirrors one last week from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who also blocked Arkansas from using the vecuronium bromide. In fact, the court ordered Griffin removed from all death penalty cases after photos emerged of him participating in a rally against the executions. It's the second time this week that Arkansas has moved forward with what originally had been a plan to execute eight men before April 30, when its supply of the drug midazolam expires.

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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson originally scheduled eight executions to occur before the end of April, when one hard-to-acquire lethal injection drug expires. They won stays from the Arkansas Supreme Court on Monday after lawyers argued their mental health issues were similar enough to those raised in an Alabama case going before the U.S. Supreme Court next week.

Rutledge filed a response to inmate Johnson's request at the 8th Circuit on Wednesday night (April 19). "I am evaluating options on how to proceed to ensure that justice is carried out". Arkansas' "rush" to use drugs before their expiration for purposes which are opposed by the companies that sell them is a potentially illegal contract violation, and given the state's reported admission that it violated contracts with drug makers in an earlier case, this context is especially important. That issue is headed back to the court, with the state planning to appeal an identical restraining order from another judge regarding the state's supply of the drug. The company said it would suffer harm financially and to its reputation if the executions were carried out.

"The spokesman, Solomon Graves, said the two are being held in separate cells adjacent to the execution chamber, which is a short drive down the road from the Varner Unit, another prison that houses death-row inmates".

The Arkansas attorney general's office countered in a court filing Wednesday that the inmates' request was a last-minute effort to "manipulate the judicial process".



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