Five different lawsuits could prevent, affect scheduled executions

Five lawsuits could prevent some or all Ark. executions from happening

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- There are at least five lawsuits that could prevent Monday's scheduled executions from actually happening.

Arkansas Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge and her staff are very busy along with the lawyers for all the inmates. Legal briefs will be flying for the next 48 hours. The Arkansas Supreme Court was a buzz Saturday, though we don’t know why. Leaving the Attorney General at least five more cases to win before six, possibly seven, men are executed beginning Monday.

"We do have a number of pieces of litigation that the attorneys at the AG's Office are working. They are here working around the clock and committed to upholding and defending the rule of law; seeing these executions carried out, seeing justice for the families of those victims,” Rutledge said Saturday afternoon.

Her office has appealed the decision made by Federal Judge Kristine Baker to halt the executions. That appeal goes to the 8th Circuit in St. Louis.

"We are committed and working every single minute to ensure justice is carried out,” she explained.

Friday, Judge Wendell Griffen, a Pulaski County Circuit Judge both protested Arkansas' death penalty by strapping himself to a gurney, much like the ones used for lethal injection in front of the Governor’s Mansion, and also granted a temporary restraining order for McKesson, the manufacturer of Vecuronium Bromide, who alleges they didn't know the State would be using the drug for executions.

We asked the AG for her thoughts. Governor Asa Hutchinson had a muted response after Judge Baker's ruling Saturday morning.

In a statement he said he expected all of the last month's clemency hearings and court cases to be tough on the victim's families, calling it “all part of a difficult process.”

He went on to say he expected quick answers from both the state and federal appeals courts. He also said he had confidence in Rutledge and her team. Just as with the Governor, one of the Attorney General's responsibilities is to uphold the state's laws. And for now, Capital punishment is the law of the land.

"These individuals, these prisoners on death row, who are scheduled for execution, they received the sentences that juries gave them, and that's what we are working toward,” Rutledge said.

She said, for her, it's about justice.

"We have been working for years with the family members of these victims. We will continue to do so to ensure that they are given closure, that they see justice carried out,” Rutledge added finally.

We also got a statement from the Arkansas Department of Correction: despite Saturday’s ruling and the others that are expected, they are proceeding with preparations and will be ready to carry out that first execution on Monday.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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