Lawyers: Don't rush Arkansas executions decision

Don Davis and Bruce Ward, who have spent more than two decades on death row, would die tonight by lethal injection if the state wins late reversals of court orders by federal and state court judges that temporarily blocked the executions of Davis, Ward and six other inmates.

The Arkansas Supreme Court received a motion filed by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge requesting the court to reconsider its order granting Bruce Earl Ward a stay on his scheduled execution. The court had issued the stay on Friday.

Ward's attorneys have argued he is a diagnosed schizophrenic with no rational understanding of his impending execution.

Among the decisions the state is appealing is one from a federal judge who on Saturday halted all of the executions so the inmates could pursue claims their deaths could be especially painful.

A state judge in Arkansas who barred the state from using one of its execution drugs has been removed from hearing capital cases after participating in death-penalty protests. They include a post days before his ruling that criticized the execution push in Arkansas. 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.

If prisoners are not executed on their assigned dates, Hutchinson would have to issue new death warrants, according to inmates' attorneys and Deere.

On Saturday, Hutchinson issued a statement on the latest legal wrangling: "I understand how hard this is on the victims' families, and my heart goes out to them", he said.

Hutchinson's plan is not just unseemly.

In its filing yesterday, the inmates' legal team said the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals should review Judge Baker's decision to reject part of their arguments.

If it fails there, it can appeal to the US Supreme Court.

The inmates' lawyers called on the state to drop its rush to use the midazolam before it expires.

This followed Friday's legal developments including a temporary restraining order issued on the drugs used during the executions.

The executions are halted _ for now. The company said that the state of Arkansas "gone outside approved channels to obtain midazolam and potassium chloride". The state is also seeking to overturn Griffen's order regarding the state's supply of vecuronium bromide. It said Thursday that it issued Arkansas a refund of its purchase price, but that the drug wasn't returned.

The judge did not agree with all of the inmates claims, including their argument that a quickened pace of executions would likely lead to a botched execution, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The company said it'll continue efforts to have the drug returned. Baker, dealt another blow Saturday. She said the relatives of victims have waited for years to see executions, but, "by this order, that day is delayed again". "After hearing the evidence ... the court is compelled to stay these executions", she said. State law requires a 30-day comment period on favorable recommendations, but those 30 days expire after Arkansas' midazolam supply.

The state was still moving forward with plans to conduct the Monday night executions in the event that all stays were lifted.

Arkansas hasn't executed an inmate in more than 11 years because of drug shortages and legal challenges.

If carried out, Monday's back-to-back executions would begin at 6 p.m. CDT (7.00 p.m. ET) at the state's Cummins Unit in Grady, a small town about 75 miles (120 km ) southeast of Little Rock, the state capital. The lawsuit is among a flurry of challenges the inmates have filed to halt the executions.

The inmates lost on some claims, including one that their lawyers couldn't provide adequate counsel under the state's schedule and that the tight timetable itself was improper.

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