Supreme Court denies Arkansas request to carry out execution
Supreme Court denies Arkansas request to carry out execution
21 Abril, 2017, 18:19
The legal fighting had centred on a series of planned lethal injections that, if carried out, would mark the most inmates put to death by a state in such a short period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. 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.
Several courts handed down multiple decisions on Monday and early Tuesday morning, in a complex drama playing out as Arkansas seeks to execute eight men before its supply of midazolam, a sedative used in the lethal injection process, expires at the end of the month.
As state officials prepare to carry out a double execution Thursday ahead of a drug expiration deadline and despite the setback the U.S. Supreme Court delivered late Monday, lawyers for those condemned men look to be taking a different approach: claiming the prisoners are actually innocent.
Even with the stays in place and questions remaining before a number of courts, executions are still possible Monday night. "This decision was not unanimous and the dissenting opinions reflect the harm the delays cause the families of the victims and it also expresses my frustration in the continued delayed justice".
One of the five Arkansas inmates who are still scheduled to die before the end of the month is due at a hearing regarding his request for further DNA testing of evidence from his case. The state supreme court granted the stays in light of the pending federal case.
But Hutchinson set off an global furor when, in February, he scheduled eight executions that were to take place over less than two weeks in April.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said he was "disappointed" by the ruling.
April 18 USA drug wholesaler McKesson Medical-Surgical Inc sued Arkansas a second time on Tuesday, saying the state acted fraudulently in obtaining a drug it intends to administer in a record number of executions this month and demanding it not use the batch to kill people.
Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request by Arkansas to lift a stay that would have allowed officials to conduct the state's first execution in almost a dozen years. Texas conducted the last successful dual executions in the United States in 2000.
That case, McWilliams v. Dunn from Alabama, is scheduled for oral argument next week and involves legal questions about expert testimony at criminal trials.
The inmate was sentenced to death in 1990 for killing a 62-year-old woman named Jane Daniel during a burglary at her home in Rogers, Arkansas.
The European Union on Wednesday urged Hutchinson to commute the death-row inmates' sentences. The ruling to block executions over the use of the flawed drug midazolam had been reversed by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Davis has organic brain damage and is intellectually disabled, while Ward has "life-long schizophrenia", the attorney said. The possibility of a ruling that would affect Davis' case, the Arkansas justices concluded, was enough to warrant stopping his execution.
At a federal court hearing last week, prison officials testified that they have no new source for the sedative, which is meant to mask the effects of drugs that will shut down the inmates' lungs and hearts.
In her order, U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker flagged two issues: the use of the midazolam and inmates' access to their attorneys on the days of their executions.
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