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'Temporary relief:' Arkansas blocks remaining executions

'Temporary relief:' Arkansas blocks remaining executions

The state Supreme Court granted inmate Stacey Johnson a stay Wednesday night, ruling 4-3 that he has a right to an evidentiary hearing after he requested DNA testing to prove his innocence.

Moments later a state circuit judge in a separate courtroom granted a temporary restraining blocking the state from using a drug for lethal injections.

The order was requested by McKesson Medical-Surgical, Inc, which has accused the state of obtaining the drug, pancuronium bromide, under false pretenses. Arkansas officials are trying to carry out the executions before their supply of midazolam, one of the execution drugs used, expires at the end of April. "Lee and identify the real perpetrator of the crime", said Nina Morrison, one of Lee's attorneys with the Innocence Project.

The possibility that justices could continue sparing the lives of the remaining killers scheduled to die this month has left death penalty supporters including Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson frustrated and critical of the high court.

But the company moved to withdraw the lawsuit the following day, stating that a federal judge's ruling that stayed all Arkansas executions was sufficient to ensure that the drug would not be used to put the inmates to death. In fact, the court ordered Griffin removed from all death penalty cases after photos emerged of him participating in a rally against the executions.

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 these booking photo provided March 21, 2017.

Also still pending before the U.S. Supreme Court is an appeal by all eight prisoners contending that the compressed execution schedule increases the likelihood of a botched lethal injection.

In the drug case, a state prison official testified that he deliberately ordered the drug previous year in a way that there wouldn't be a paper trail, relying on phone calls and text messages.

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As a player, the defender was capped four time by England and made over 200 appearances for Aston Villa between 1991 and 2000. The 44-year-old, who works as Tottenham's under-23s coach, was treated by medical staff before being taken away by ambulance.

The Arkansas attorney general's office is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reject execution stays for a group of death row inmates, including five who are set for lethal injection over the next two weeks. In text messages from Jenkins' phone, there is no mention that the drug would be used in executions.

The judge facing re-election, Courtney Goodson, lost her bid for chief justice a year ago after conservative groups blanketed the state with ads attacking her. "It is inconceivable that this court, with the facts and the law well established, stays these executions over speculation that the (U.S.) Supreme Court might change the law".

On Friday, a different Pulaski County judge issued a similar ruling on vecuronium bromide.

An appeal of Johnson's stay of execution was undecided, the attorney general's spokesman said.

It's unclear whether the new execution obstacles would have any political fallout for the court.

Lawyers for Arkansas inmates condemned to die Thursday in a planned double execution are claiming they are innocent and one of them says advanced DNA techniques could show he didn't kill a woman in 1993.

Their strategy to win stays is in marked contrast to the first two inmates who faced the death chamber and were spared Monday by arguing they should not be put to death because of mental health issues.

Arkansas officials are vowing to press ahead despite the setback to plans to resume capital punishment after a 12-year hiatus.


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