Don Davis not executed, US Supreme Court upholds stay of execution

Arkansas fights on multiple legal fronts to begin executions

The state's lawyers also have pressed the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow the executions to begin, saying that the Death Row inmates simply were stalling, even though state and federal courts had ruled that the men were entitled to additional appeals.

The eighth circuit appeal overturned a 101-page ruling on Saturday by the federal district judge Kristine Baker, in which she questioned the reliability of the sedative midazolam that is used as the first chemical in Arkansas' triple lethal injection protocol.

"The application to vacate the stay of execution of sentence of death entered by the Arkansas Supreme Court on April 17, 2017, presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied", stated the high court's ruling.

Asa Hutchinson says he's disappointed after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to lift a stay that would have allowed the state's first execution in 12 years.

All of the executions were back on schedule, until the state's Supreme Court delayed the two executions planned for Monday night.

The state was still pressing forward with moves to prepare the two condemned inmates for death on Monday. Griffen participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration after issuing the ruling Friday. The inmates wanted stays of execution while the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a case concerning access to independent mental health experts by defendants.

Last week, the US Bishops' Conference's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development pleaded with the Governor of Arkansas to reconsider his plans to execute seven men in the next 11 days to use up the state's last batch of the controversial drug Midazolam because it is due to expire at the end of the month.

A spokesman for Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge had no immediate comment on the court's ruling. Griffen issued a temporary restraining order Friday blocking the state from using its supply of vecuronium bromide after a company said it had sold the drug to the state for medical purposes, not capital punishment.

(Arkansas Department of Correction, via AP, File).

Addressing reporters after the decision, he explained that Davis would soon be returned to death row and that the staff had been prepared for the long evening and would be similarly prepared in the future.

"It went wrong in every way it could have potentially gone wrong", said Murphy, adding that Oklahoma has since issued a report advising against using that cocktail of drugs.

The high court's order sparing Davis offered no explanation, but none of the justices voted in favor of lifting the stay.

The drugs used in lethal injections by some American states - 19 of the 50 no longer execute prisoners - have become increasingly hard to obtain.

No single U.S. state has held eight executions in 10 days since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

The court battles are playing out on multiple fronts as the state's supply of midazolam expires on April 30.

Justices in a 4-3 decision granted stays Monday afternoon for Don Davis and Bruce Ward.

Hutchinson defended the accelerated schedule, unmatched in the modern era, because the state's supply of one of the lethal drugs used in the process expires at the end of April. Davis came within six hours of execution in 2010 before he was spared by the state Supreme Court.

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.

If carried out, the execution would have been the state's first in almost 12 years.

The executions were set for 7 p.m. CDT (0000 GMT on Tuesday) at the Cummins Unit in Grady, about 75 miles (120 km) southeast of Little Rock.

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