Arkansas suffers two setbacks in its plan to perform eight executions in 11 days

Arkansas suffers two setbacks in its plan to perform eight executions in 11 days

Arkansas suffered two setbacks Wednesday in its unprecedented plan to carry out eight executions this month after the state’s High Court granted a temporary pardon to an inmate who was to be executed on Thursday and a county court found that the state can not To use one of its drugs for lethal injection in any execution. Although Wednesday’s two rulings could be overturned, Arkansas is now facing an uphill battle to execute any prisoner before the end of April, when another drug expires. The state originally scheduled eight executions to occur in an 11-day period in April, a figure that would have been the highest in any state in such a tight time since the United States Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976. But Arkansas Has faced a wave of legal challenges, and the latest determination by Circuit Court Judge Alice Gray, Pulaski County, on the drug vecuronium bromide sets the whole calendar headline. Gray supported McKesson Corp.’s argument that it sold the drug to Arkansas for medical use, not for executions, and would suffer severe financial damage and reputation if executed. “It will result in irreparable damage. Damage that could not be repaired by (monetary) compensation, “Judge Gray said in her ruling. Judd Deere, a spokeswoman for Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, said the state would appeal Gray’s determination. Four of the eight prisoners have been deferred for unrelated matters. If Judge Gray’s determination is overturned by the Arkansas High Court or the state obtains a different supply of vecuronium bromide, the executions of the four prisoners who have not received deferrals could be carried out. Solomon Graves, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Corrections, said Wednesday night that the state has not obtained a new supply of vecuronium bromide, the second of three drugs used in Arkansas’s lethal injection protocol. Judge Gray’s ruling is similar to another one issued last week by Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen of Pulaski County, who also prevented Arkansas from using the drug. But the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned Griffen’s determination days after he took part in a demonstration against the death penalty and reassigned some of his cases.

AP

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