Judge halts Ark. plan to ex­e­cute 6 over 11 days

The Commercial Appeal - - From The Cover - Doug Stanglin

A fed­eral judge on Satur­day blocked Ar­kan­sas’ plan to carry out six ex­e­cu­tions over 11 days, say­ing the con­demned in­mates have a con­sti­tu­tional right to chal­lenge a drug pro­to­col that could ex­pose them to “se­vere pain.”

The state’s at­tor­ney gen­eral quickly filed pa­per­work ask­ing the 8th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in St. Louis to over­turn the in­junc­tion, in an ap­par­ent ef­fort to be­gin with the first ex­e­cu­tion on Mon­day.

The state, which has not had an ex­e­cu­tion in 12 years, had sched­uled eight over a short pe­riod of time to beat the April 30 ex­pi­ra­tion date of mi­da­zo­lam, a key drug used in the process.

The pre­lim­i­nary in­junc­tion by U.S. District Judge Kris­tine G. Baker, in Lit­tle Rock, comes one day af­ter a Cir­cuit Court judge in Pu­laski County, Ark., is­sued a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der bar­ring Ar­kan­sas from us­ing its sup­ply of an­other drug — ve­curo­nium bro­mide — in the ex­e­cu­tions.

Af­ter the seda­tive mi­da­zo­lam is ad­min­is­tered, ve­curo­nium bro­mide stops the breath­ing and potas­sium chlo­ride stops the heart.

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