Despite Rulings, Arkansas Governor And AG Vow To Pursue Executions

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal judge's ruling blocking the executions over the use of midazolam, a sedative used in flawed executions in other states.

After the State Supreme Court lifted the judge's ruling that blocked the executions because it prohibited Arkansas from using its supply of vecuronium bromide, another o lethal injection drug.

Asa Hutchinson (R) argued that one of the state's lethal drugs was soon to expire, so the executions needed to take place because they may not be able to replace it.

But Davis ultimately won a life-sparing reprieve on a matter that was entirely different: whether he should be executed while the U.S. Supreme Court hears a case about whether poor defendants with mental health problems are entitled to expert witnesses to assist them in preparing and presenting their cases.

"#SCOTUS upheld stays of execution last night in #Arkansas".

The state was rushing to get approval to execute convicted killer Don Davis before his death warrant was expected to expire at midnight.

As officials awaited further court action, Davis had his "last meal" at the unit where the execution chamber is located, according to the Arkansas Department of Correction. His execution was stayed late last week.

If Arkansas had its way, the state would have two fewer inmates on death row today.

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That decision "stirred a wave of consternation and threats on social media from state lawmakers and conservatives", member station KUAR noted on Saturday - because shortly before the decision, the judge was photographed protesting the death penalty at the gates of the Governor's Mansion.

With about 10 minutes to go before Davis' death warrant was due to expire, the high court made a decision to uphold a stay of execution. A medical supply company come forward to state that Arkansas had misled them said it had misled them by stating that the drug would be used for medical purposes, not executions.

Arkansas officials are vowing to carry out a double execution later this week after the U.S. Supreme Court scuttled the state's plan to resume capital punishment for the first time in almost 12 years by refusing to lift an order minutes before a condemned man was scheduled to die. The stays were overturned by a federal appeals court on Monday.

DeMillo reported from Little Rock.

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. The justices are set to hold oral arguments on April 24.

"There are five scheduled executions remaining with nothing preventing them from occurring, but I will continue to respond to any and all legal challenges brought by the prisoners", said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge in a statement.

Ward and Davis's attorneys say their clients were denied access to independent experts even though both have forms of mental illness. But the judge was taken off the case by the state's Supreme Court and the temporary restraining order was thrown out. However, one of the stipulations is that the company cannot sell the drug to federal and state correctional facilities that engage in capital punishment.

"My job as governor is to work with the attorney general to make sure that justice is accomplished and the law of Arkansas is carried out, and that's what we're working every day to accomplish", he said. "We are under the impression, and under the assumption, that those executions will be carried out as scheduled". The next two are scheduled for Thursday.

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