Arkansas AG to nation's top court: Don't block executions

The court said the condemned inmate should have a chance at proving his innocence with further DNA testing.

Stacey Johnson was convicted of killing Carol Heath in 1993 in Sevier County, AR.

An hour before Scott's show aired, correspondent Casey Stegall noted on Fox's America's Newsroom that "states have had a hard time getting new supplies of this drug [midazolam] because many critics say it should not be used to kill people". Ledell Lee, scheduled for execution Thursday, saw his stay denied.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is weighing her legal options in responding to the court's decision to stay Johnson's execution. Anti-death penalty supporter Randy Gardner, left, wipes away a tear moments after Abraham Bonowitz, left, read on his phone the 11:45pm Supreme Court decision to halt the execution.

Rory Griffin testified Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by medical supply company McKesson Corp., which is asking a judge to not allow Arkansas to use its drug in executions. It's the quickest timetable in Arkansas since 1926, though state officials say waiting more than two decades to put some of the killers to death could hardly be characterized as swift. The state and its lawyers say the inmates are seeking any legal approach they can find in their efforts to avoid death.

"ADC meant to use this product in connection with executions, a fact that was never disclosed to McKesson", the company said in the filing at a state court in Little Rock, the state capital.

Lawyers for the state said earlier this month that the prisoners know the state's supply of a key sedative expires April 30 and that it would be "impossible" to execute the prisoners because "Arkansas has no source of midazolam" beyond that already in stock.

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An eighth inmate, Jason McGehee, previously won a stay from a federal judge regarding his clemency schedule, and Arkansas has not appealed that ruling.

It takes five votes to get most things done at the court, including imposing or lifting a stay of execution. The state Supreme Court also lifted a lower court ruling preventing the state from using another lethal injection drug that a supplier said was sold to be used for medical purposes, not executions. A McKesson salesman presented the texts at the court hearing, which showed no mention or indication that the drug would be used for lethal injections.

Rosenzweig also represents two other inmates scheduled to die this month - Jack Jones and Kenneth Williams.

The judge facing re-election, Courtney Goodson, lost her bid for chief justice past year after conservative groups blanketed the state with ads attacking her. But the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that order Monday, and the inmates appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The Arkansas Supreme Court recognized that executing either man, before the Court answers this question. would be profoundly arbitrary and unjust", Scott Braden, an assistant federal public defender for the inmates, said Monday.

A judge in Pulaski County on Tuesday rejected the request for DNA testing from inmate Ledell Lee. There are no current stays blocking those executions, but both inmates have pending court challenges. Their one-paragraph order did not elaborate on why. But courts have blocked three of those executions from going forward.

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