LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Lawyers for inmates facing a series of double executions in Arkansas say a federal appeals court should schedule oral arguments as it considers whether to dissolve or preserve the execution stays imposed by a lower court judge.
The executions would have started Monday night under Arkansas' aggressive plan to use a key drug before it expires at the end of April. But U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker issued stays Saturday so the inmates could pursue a claim that they could suffer "severe pain."
The state of Arkansas appealed and has asked for a quick decision. In a filing early Monday, the inmates' lawyers say the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals should avoid a "rushed analysis."
Bruce Earl Ward and Don William Davis Jr. were scheduled to die Monday night in the first two of eight executions over 11 days. A state court judge on Friday blocked Arkansas from using one of its three lethal injection drugs until he can determine whether it was obtained properly, and a federal judge on Saturday issued stays of all the executions.
Lawyers for the state have appeals pending before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court. They say in their filings that the stays should be reversed immediately so Arkansas can carry out the executions before one of its lethal injection drugs expires at the end of the month.
Arkansas says it cannot find a new drug supply if the executions are delayed.