Court rulings blocks Arkansas plan for multiple executions

9 Death Row Inmates Turn to U.S. Supreme Court Request Emergency Stays of Execution

9 Death Row Inmates Turn to U.S. Supreme Court Request Emergency Stays of Execution

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas judge who participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration after issuing an order blocking the state's executions defended the move Wednesday, saying his ruling was guided by property law and not his views on capital punishment. "It's a very big deal at McKesson to have our drugs associated with that". This time it's the result of a drug supplier suing to block usage of its product in the state's lethal injections.

Company officials sued to force the agency, which administers the death penalty in Arkansas, to return the drugs. Arkansas obtained these drugs from McKesson through a sustained campaign of deception, which saw it deliberately mislead the company about the products' intended goal then renege on a promise to return them after they were given a full refund. But Arkansas has faced a wave of legal challenges, and the latest ruling from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray over the drug vecuronium bromide upends the entire schedule. That issue is headed back to the court, with the state planning to appeal an identical restraining order from another judge regarding the state's supply of the drug.

In this Monday evening, April 17, 2017 photo, the sun sets behind clouds over an Arkansas State Police command post outside the Varner Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction near Varner, Ark.

"McKesson was duped. into providing the drugs", lawyer John Tull argued.

Griffin told the judge that he explicitly told Jenkins about the intended objective of the drug. The state can ask the Arkansas Supreme Court to reconsider its decision or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which on Monday opted not to vacate a separate stay involving inmate Davis. It also referred Griffen to the state's judicial disciplinary panel.

Griffin also denied that the sale was conducted using Floss' medical license and told the judge he never invoked Floss' license to complete the sale.

Details on his medical license describe his primary specialty as a family physician.

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Later, a spokesman for Correct Care Solutions sent an email to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette saying the company "had absolutely no involvement in the purchase of drugs used for the objective of execution, nor did its doctor".

A state employee's signature on McKesson documents approving the return was a forgery, and the employee in question, Jennifer Dean, does not work for her department, Kelley testified.

Gray's ruling comes five days after another circuit judge, Wendell Griffen, similarly prohibited the state from using its vecuronium bromide supply in response to a McKesson lawsuit.

On Monday, Don Davis won a reprieve from the state's top court a few hours before his scheduled execution, then waited nearly until midnight to learn the Supreme Court would not allow the execution to proceed.

Most often those lawyers press their arguments at the highest court in the country in a final attempt to save their clients' lives. "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".

Gov. Asa Hutchinson expressed frustration with the repeated legal hurdles, and in a statement Wednesday night criticized the state Supreme Court, which has voted 4-3 on the death penalty cases.

Arkansas Correction Department Director Wendy Kelley is shown in this photo.

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