Death Row inmates argue to keep stay of execution in place; urge 8th Circuit not to 'rush' analysis | Arkansas Blog

Monday, April 17, 2017

Death Row inmates argue to keep stay of execution in place; urge 8th Circuit not to 'rush' analysis

Posted By on Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 5:53 AM

click to enlarge SCHEDULED FOR KILLING: Death Row inmates in current appeal.  Top, from left: Don Davis, Stacey Johnson, Jack Jones and Ledell Lee; bottom, from left: Jason McGehee, Bruce Ward, Kenneth Williams and Marcel Williams.
  • SCHEDULED FOR KILLING: Death Row inmates in current appeal. Top, from left: Don Davis, Stacey Johnson, Jack Jones and Ledell Lee; bottom, from left: Jason McGehee, Bruce Ward, Kenneth Williams and Marcel Williams.

Early this morning, attorneys for nine Death Row inmates filed an argument with the 8th United States Circuit Court of Appeals contesting the state's effort to override Judge Kristine Baker's order Saturday that halted executions scheduled this month.

The inmates said the 8th Circuit should not decide in two days a matter on which Baker had heard 17 witnesses and included a transcript of their testimony of 1,300 pages and 90 exhibits. The order included hundreds of factual findings and multiple conclusions of law, they said.

"At this stage, a more thorough consideration of plaintiffs' claims could hardly be imagined."

The state has argued that Baker didn't adequately consider that her order would put a stop to scheduled executions that carry out lawful sentences.  Baker found merit in inmates' arguments about full access to legal counsel during executions and to the potential for cruel and unusual punishment from use of the sedative midazolam. It is used along with a paralytic drug and a killing drug, in the lethal injection process. Arkansas has never used the drug combination before.

The inmates said the state "misstates the standard of review, selectively represents the procedural history and ignores vast swathes of evidence."

The inmates asked that the appeals court deny the state's request "for a rushed analysis of this complex record and instead give calm consideration to these grave issues after full briefing and argument."




Eight inmates were scheduled to be killed by order of Gov. Asa Hutchinson — two a day between today and April 27. A ninth inmate who is not currently scheduled to be killed joined the suit. Since then, courts have stayed two executions — of Bruce Ward, who was scheduled to die today but who is mentally incompetent, and Jason McGehee, who's been recommended for clemency. The state is trying to get Ward's stay lifted. It has apparently acceded to a court finding that McGehee's killing would violate state law on a required waiting period after a recommendation for clemency. The clemency process was shortened so as to meet the governor's compressed execution schedule. It was hurried to get the killing done before a supply of one drug, the controversial sedative midazolam, expires at the end of this month.

NOTED: Judge Wendell Griffen's order halting use of the state's supply of midazolam because the distributor said it was deceitfully obtained remains in effect. However, McKesson, the distributor, has asked that its suit be dismissed on account of Judge Baker's broader temporary restraining order. That request is expected to be granted today. McKesson has said it wants to reserve the right to refile the suit. It has also asked for its midazolam back, something the state has so far refused to do.



Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Campus gun bill clears committee

    The so-called compromise amendment that will allow anyone 25 or older with a training certificate carry a concealed weapon on public college campuses was approved in a Senate committee this afternoon.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation