Federal judge issues order to block Arkansas executions

Lawyers for the Arkansas attorney general's office are reportedly working to overturn recent decisions that halted the state's quick plan to execute eight inmates before the end of the month. "We are calling on state officials to accept the federal court's decision, cancel the frantic execution schedule, and propose a legal and humane method to carry out its executions".

Arkansas, which has not carried out an execution in 12 years, planned to begin the lethal injections of at least six convicted murderers on Monday and complete the executions before the end of April.

The state's mixture of drugs used in executions has brought legal challenges, and Baker's ruling on Saturday also raised questions about whether one of them, midazolam, was effective enough at preventing pain during executions.

Two other drug companies, Fresenius Kabi USA and West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corp., filed a brief in US District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas arguing contracts prohibit their products from being used in executions, which run "counter to the manufacturers' mission to save and enhance patients' lives".

Protesters gather outside the state Capitol building on Friday in Little Rock, Ark., to voice their opposition to Arkansas' seven upcoming executions.

Attorneys for the seven Arkansas inmates facing lethal injection by the end of the month are asking the state Supreme Court to halt their executions.

In her order, Baker said there was a "significant possibility" the inmates' challenge to the execution protocol would be successful.

At a federal court hearing last week, prison officials testified they must conduct the executions with their current batch of midazolam, a sedative that is meant to mask the effects of drugs that will shut down the inmates' lungs and hearts.

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The inmates are challenging the planned execution method, and claim that the scheduling of back-to-back executions widen the probability of potential mistakes.

McKesson, one of medical supply company that accused Arkansas of misleadingly obtaining a lethal injection drug, on Saturday sought to drop its lawsuit.

The San Francisco-based company said in a statement released Thursday night that it sold vecuronium bromide to Arkansas' prison system believing it would be used for medical purposes.

Lawyers were already scrambling to respond to a temporary restraining order issued late Friday by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen to stop the prison system from using one of the three drugs employed in lethal injections.

Drugmakers have largely objected to having their products used in executions and have refused to sell to prisons for that objective.

This photo provided by Sherry Simon shows Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen taking part of an anti-death penalty demonstration outside the Governor's Mansion Friday, April 14, 2017 in Little Rock, Ark. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker granted eight condemned inmates a preliminary. "This decision is significantly out of step with precedent from the Eighth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court". The Arkansas Supreme Court was a buzz Saturday, though we don't know why. "(D) elaying Appellees' executions by even a few days - until Arkansas's supply of midazolam expires - will make it impossible for Arkansas to carry out Appellees' just and lawful sentences". Baker, dealt another blow Saturday, April 15, 2017, to Arkansas' unprecedented plan to execute eight inmates in an 11-day period, saying the men have the right to challenge a drug protocol that could expose them to "severe pain".

According to court documents, McKesson Medical-Surgical Incorporated filed the temporary restraining order for an "injuctive relief" and for the state of Arkansas to return its property, 10 vials of 20mg Vecuronium bromide.

People, including Griffen, have been protesting outside of the Governor's Mansion in Little Rock.

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