Arkansas AG to appeal stay of execution for man scheduled to die Monday

Arkansas AG to appeal stay of execution for man scheduled to die Monday
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The Arkansas Supreme Court lifted an order Monday evening that halted the state’s plan to execute eight inmates before the end of the month, although a stay remains in place for two men facing executions Monday night.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) will appeal one of the two of execution stays to the Supreme Court, according to a Monday Associated Press report.

But Rutledge reportedly does not plan to appeal the stay on inmate Bruce Ward's execution, as his attorneys say he is mentally ill and other legal challenges are pending regarding his mental health.

She has, however, requested that the U.S. Supreme Court vacate the stay issued for inmate Don Davis, whose execution was scheduled for Monday night.

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Davis received the death sentence after lethally shooting a woman during what authorities believe to be a robbery.

Rutledge and her staff reportedly worked all day Saturday to file appeals to recent decisions, before the court blocked the state’s plan.

"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," Rutledge told Little Rock NBC affiliate KARK over the weekend.

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

The state moved 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 date, 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."

Hutchinson urged the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the executions for Davis and Ward to proceed, reasoning that the victims' families have waited long enough for justice, the AP reports.