USA

Despite Rulings, Arkansas Governor And AG Vow To Pursue Executions

Despite Rulings, Arkansas Governor And AG Vow To Pursue Executions

(Sherry Simon via AP). But the Arkansas Supreme Court vacated that order after the judge, Wendell Griffen, was photographed participating in an anti-death penalty protest on the same day he issued his ruling.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

(AP Photo/Kelly P. Kissel).

Justices declined an appeal from the state's attorney general to lift a stay barring the execution of Don Davis, who was slated to be the first of several inmates to die this month. Wright wrote that he won't substitute his own judgment "for that of the jurors two decades removed".

The state Supreme Court voted 4-3 to stay the executions of Davis and Ward.

Don Davis had been given his last meal Monday evening, with the U.S. high court decision to leave a state court's stay of execution in place coming as the minutes ticked toward 1 a.m. ET (midnight Central Time) when the execution warrant was to expire. McGehee was convicted of the 1996 killing of John Melbourne, Jr.

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Rutledge argued in the filing that the change of venue would be appropriate given that "no plaintiff in this case is a citizen of the state of Arkansas. and this action was commenced against the state and officers of the state in their official capacity". The highest court also overturned a lower court ruling that prevented the state from using another lethal injection drug, which the supplier said was to be used for medical purposes and not executions. The state's supply of the drug midazolam, a sedative used in the lethal injection process, will expire at the end of April. However, one of the stipulations is that the company cannot sell the drug to federal and state correctional facilities that engage in capital punishment.

The state judge's decision, reached Friday, was based on how Arkansas acquired another drug - vecuronium bromide, which is used in anesthesia as well as executions.

Don Davis had eaten his final meal, and was being moved towards the execution chamber, but was granted a last-minute reprieve after the court intervened just before his death warrant expired, at midnight on Monday.

The US Supreme Court left in place a stay of execution for an Arkansas inmate, refusing to overrule the state supreme court.

"Mr. Lee has never had the opportunity to have his case truly investigated, despite serious questions about guilt, and his intellectual disability", Lee's attorney, Cassandra Stubbs, said.

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Davis has repeatedly faced the threat of lethal injection - he came within hours of being put to death in 2010 - and Daniel's daughter noted last month that she had traveled to Pine Bluff, near the prison, four times for executions that were eventually called off.

Kenneth Williams - convicted of murdering former prison warden Cecil Boren while on the run from prison, where he was serving time for murdering cheerleader Dominique Hurd. Earlier Tuesday, the judge ordered that Lee receive a psychological evaluation Wednesday.

The state attorney general's office says there are no current legal obstacles to executing Lee as scheduled.

The scheduled executions of two Arkansas death row inmates were halted after that state's Supreme Court granted stays Monday afternoon, effectively delaying the state's plan to execute the men by lethal injection before supplies of a key drug expire.

Arkansas was set to begin an 11-day execution spree of seven prisoners on Monday, but state and federal rulings created roadblocks that put the state's aggressive plan in jeopardy.

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