Attorney General Files Petition to Arkansas Supreme Court After Lethal Drug Blocked
- Author: Megan Austin Apr 25, 2017,
Apr 25, 2017, 12:53
Arkansas's original plan to execute eight men in 10 days this month would have set a rate never seen since the United States resumed the death penalty in 1977, the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center has reported.
Griffen's participation in Friday's demonstrations led the state attorney general to ask Arkansas' highest court to appoint another judge to oversee the case.
The company said the Arkansas prison system failed to return a supply of the drug when it learned the state meant to use it for executions, a violation of an understanding between the two, according to McKesson.
She also requested the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverse its stay on the executions.
The state's Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, had argued that the executions - which would have been the state's first since 2005 - had to be rushed through because one of the drugs used in lethal injections was due to expire.
The companies did not disclose which of their drugs Arkansas will use during the executions.
"The state of Arkansas does not intend to torture plaintiffs to death", Baker wrote in the order.
Attorneys for the seven Arkansas inmates facing lethal injection by the end of the month are asking the state Supreme Court to halt their executions.
She said the condemned prisoners had the right under the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution - which bans "cruel and unusual punishment" - to challenge the state's plans to put them to death by lethal injection with a controversial three-drug cocktail.
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The drugs used in lethal injections by some American states - 19 of the 50 no longer execute prisoners - have become increasingly hard to obtain.
The company said a temporary restraining order issued by a Pulaski County judge preventing Arkansas from using the drug is no longer necessary now that a federal judge has halted the state's executions, which were set to begin Monday. The company, along with other pharmaceutical makers, objects to its drug being used in executions. "If midazolam does not adequately anesthetize plaintiffs, or if their executions are 'botched, ' they will suffer severe pain before they die". The supplier, McKesson, said they were promised the state's supply of vecuronium bromide would eventually be returned.
Lawyers were already scrambling to respond to a temporary restraining order issued late Friday by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen to stop the prison system from using one of the three drugs employed in lethal injections.
"I understand how hard this is on the victims' families, and my heart goes out to them as they once again deal with the continued court reviews; however, the last-minute court reviews are all part of the hard process of death penalty cases", said Mr. Hutchinson, a Republican. It comes after the drug manufacturer Pfizer disclosed last night that McKesson was the source of Pfizer medicines purchased by the ADC.
The director of the Arkansas Department of Correction, Wendy Kelley, testified this week that Arkansas was not charged for its current supply of potassium chloride.
Rutledge filed an emergency petition with the Arkansas Supreme Court on Saturday seeking to overturn Griffen's order.
McKesson tonight filed a motion seeking an emergency injunction and the immediate return of its medicine, and suing the Arkansas Department of Correction for rescission based on misrepresentation of a medical license, rescission based on unilateral mistake, replevin, unjust enrichment, and unjust taking.