On April 6, U.S. District Judge J.P. Marshall halted one of the eight executions, saying the expedited schedule did not allow proper time for considering clemency for inmate Jason McGehee.
"The Attorney General is considering options as to how to proceed", Judd Deere, a spokesman for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, said in a statement.
Hutchinson said he would meet with the state's lawyers and its prison officials on Monday to discuss Arkansas' next moves as it attempts to conduct executions for the first time since 2005.
Baker pointed to these executions in her order, saying that testimony on these bungled or extended lethal injections "is personal and rings true". If court proceedings are pushed into May, Arkansas won't be able to carry out the executions with the drugs it has on hand.
Arkansas' attorney general says she will seek an "immediate review" of a state Supreme Court decision that halted two executions set for Monday, though several other legal obstacles remain for the state to carry out its plan. That would be the most of any state in as short a period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington-based nonprofit that monitors U.S. capital punishment. The higher court has not ruled on his drug decision.
Baker also found that the state would deprive the inmates of adequate counsel because prison officials allow only a single lawyer to be present for any execution. Justices reassigned any death penalty cases from Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen, who banned the state from using a lethal injection drug a supplier said was misleadingly obtained. In recent years, the drug's use in lethal injections has been intensely debated after it was utilized in a bungled execution in Oklahoma (which officials later blamed on a misplaced IV) and unusually prolonged executions that, in some cases, saw inmates gasping for breath in Ohio, Arizona and, in December, Alabama.
On Friday, McKesson Medical-Surgical Incorporated filed a temporary restraining order in which the pharmaceutical company said the Arkansas Department of Correction "misled McKesson when it procured the vecuronium".
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She said Mr. Griffen attended a 2 p.m. Friday rally at the state capitol in Little Rock before issuing the temporary restraining order at about 4:25 p.m., then resurfaced at an evening protest outside the governor's mansion.
A separate federal court ruling has halted all of the executions.
Lawyers for the state have appeals pending before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court. After the orders by Baker and Griffen, Hutchinson said that he knew the lethal injections being scheduled would set off court filings and reviews. He wrote that Ward and Davis have had "decades of appeals" and that the victims' families deserved closure. Davis, 54, was convicted and sentenced to death in 1992 for killing Jane Daniel. He ran twice unsuccessfully for state Supreme Court - including a bid for chief justice in 2004.
Ward's attorneys say he's a diagnosed schizophrenic with no rational understanding of his impending execution.
Bruce Earl Ward and Don William Davis Jr. were scheduled to die Monday night in the first two of eight executions over 11 days. Judge Baker embraced arguments by the eight prisoners whose executions had been scheduled, plus one other death row inmate, that the state's reliance on midazolam, as an execution drug posed a risk to their constitutional rights. Arkansas is appealing and seeking to have that stay vacated.
Baker granted a temporary injunction for all eight inmates, halting their executions on grounds including that the state's protocols violate US constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.