Arkansas AG working to overturn decisions halting 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 have worked round the clock for the last couple of weeks and particularly in the last couple of days, as judges have made decisions and court cases have been filed in these pieces of litigation, to ensure again that justice is carried out for these families of the victims," Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge told Little Rock NBC-affiliate KARK.

On Friday, death row inmate Bruce Ward's execution was stayed.

Rutledge and her staff reportedly worked all day Saturday to file appeals to recent decisions.


On Saturday, U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker granted a preliminary injunction to block the eight planned executions that the state scheduled before the end of the month. 

The state had planned to execute the eight inmates before its supply of a lethal injection drug expires at the end of April.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) scheduled the executions for before the expiration day, and the first two had been set for Monday night.

Lawyers for the inmates challenged the use of midazolam, which was involved in flawed executions elsewhere, as well as the shortened timeframe. Arkansas's attorneys said the lawsuit was just an attempt to delay.

Rutledge filed an emergency motion with the Arkansas Supreme Court on Saturday, saying the stay put on Ward's execution was "without merit."

She also requested the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverse its stay on the executions. She said the issue about midazolam has been addressed in prior court cases.

"Certainly up to the judges and up to the Arkansas Supreme Court when they will hand down their decisions," Rutledge said.

"But we anticipate that it will be soon and we continue to move forward with the plans and to carry out and to be successful in litigation as it arises."