LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Governor Hutchinson has released a statement on the federal ruling by Judge Kristine Baker that blocks Arkansas' scheduled executions and other recent court rulings regarding the executions.
“When I set the eight execution dates in accordance with the law and my responsibilities, I was fully aware that the actions would trigger both the individual clemency hearings and separate court reviews on varying claims by the death row inmates. I understand how difficult this is on the victims’ families, and my heart goes out to them as they once again deal with the continued court review; however, the last minute court reviews are all part of the difficult process of death penalty cases. I expect both the Supreme Court of Arkansas and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decisions quickly, and I have confidence in the Attorney General and her team to expedite the reviews. I’ll be meeting with the Attorney General and the Arkansas Department of Correction on Monday to determine next steps,” he said.
The federal ruling cited a likely violation of the inmate's Eighth Amendment and right to due process.
Judd Deere, spokesperson for Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, has confirmed that the state will appeal to the Eighth Circuit and possibly the Supreme Court. The court battle will likely extend into next week. However, if either high court rules in favor of the state, the executions could move forward as early as next week.
A federal case recently stayed the execution of Jason McGehee, who was set to die before Williams on April 27. Friday the Arkansas Supreme Court granted an emergency stay for Bruce Ward, who was set to be executed on April 17.
Another hurdle to the executions is a temporary restraining order that Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen issued Friday against the state of Arkansas, effectively halting the scheduled executions until further notice.
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.