Crime Lawyers Desperate to Stall Arkansas' Spate of Executions

12:56  12 april  2017
12:56  12 april  2017 Source:   NBC News

Judge Blocks 1 of 8 Arkansas Executions

  Judge Blocks 1 of 8 Arkansas Executions The state hoped to put to death eight prisoners in a 10-day period."The victims' families have waited far too long to see justice for their loved ones, and today's decision from Judge Marshall allows all but one of the scheduled executions to move forward," a spokesman for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a statement.

Lawyers for seven death row inmates scheduled to be put to death starting next week are desperately trying to halt the executions Executions are relatively rare in Arkansas . These would be the first in 12 years. The state now finds itself at the center of the nationwide debate over the death penalty.

Related: Arkansas Executions : Damien Echols, Ex-Death Row Inmate, Will Speak for Condemned. Executions are relatively rare in Arkansas . These would be the first in 12 years. The state now finds itself at the center of the nationwide debate over the death penalty.

  Lawyers Desperate to Stall Arkansas' Spate of Executions © Provided by NBCU News Group, a division of NBCUniversal Media LLC

Lawyers for seven death row inmates scheduled to be put to death starting next week are desperately trying to halt the executions, arguing in federal court that the proceedings are unconstitutional and would amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

The men are all convicted of capital murder and are all scheduled to be executed over an 11-day span.

Attorney Jeff Rosenzweig represents three of the inmates. He and other critics view the spate of executions as an "assembly line killing."

"It is unprecedented that a state is trying to execute this many people in this short a period time," he told NBC News. "We're in a position where we're having to rush from one client to another."

Arkansas Executions: First Two Men Scheduled to Die Push for Delay

  Arkansas Executions: First Two Men Scheduled to Die Push for Delay Arkansas Executions: First Two Men Scheduled to Die Push for DelayAttorneys for death row inmates Don Davis and Bruce Ward have asked the Arkansas State Supreme Court to temporarily stay their executions, scheduled for April 17, until the conclusion of McWilliams v. Dunn, which is playing out in Washington.

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For all sides, it's a race against time.

State officials say one of the drugs used in the lethal injection — Midazolam — will expire at the end of the month. Manufacturers have been reluctant to resupply states after the drug was used in a 2014 botched execution in Oklahoma.

But for Susan Khani, the punishment can't come soon enough.

Death row inmate Don Davis shot Khani's mother, Jane Daniel, in the back of the head during a robbery 27 years ago.

"I was in shock for a long time," Khani told NBC News. "It was just too unbelievable. It couldn't register."

For more coverage of this story, visit NBCNews.com/ArkansasExecutions

Even though she says she's forgiven Davis, she views the state's death penalty as a promise that needs to be kept.

"We've suffered long enough and my mom really suffered that last day," she said.

Arkansas Executions: First Two Men Scheduled to Die Push for Delay

  Arkansas Executions: First Two Men Scheduled to Die Push for Delay Arkansas Executions: First Two Men Scheduled to Die Push for DelayAttorneys for death row inmates Don Davis and Bruce Ward have asked the Arkansas State Supreme Court to temporarily stay their executions, scheduled for April 17, until the conclusion of McWilliams v. Dunn, which is playing out in Washington.

Lawyers for the state said Monday the prisoners know that the state 's supply of a key sedative expires April 30 and that it would Two lawsuits are pending in federal court that could delay or halt Arkansas ' executions . The state said in court papers Monday that the inmates are deliberately stalling .

The Official State of Arkansas Online Criminal Background Check System is provided by the Arkansas State Police in accordance with Arkansas law permitting access to certain criminal history information for authorized entities.

Davis is scheduled to be put to death on Monday.

"I've been promised this for 25 years," she said. "I just hope this time it goes through."

Related: Arkansas Executions: Damien Echols, Ex-Death Row Inmate, Will Speak for Condemned

Executions are relatively rare in Arkansas. These would be the first in 12 years. The state now finds itself at the center of the nationwide debate over the death penalty.

After peaking in the late 1990s, capital punishment is at its lowest point in a quarter century, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. There were just 20 executions nationwide last year.

Lethal Injection is still the preferred method. But drug shortages have prompted some states to consider other options, such as a firing squad in Utah and nitrogen gas in Oklahoma.

Arkansas looks to carry out 1st execution since 2005 .
Arkansas on Thursday canceled the third of eight planned executions in the face of court challenges, but hoped to push ahead later in the night with its first execution since 2005.A ruling from the state Supreme Court allowing officials to use a lethal injection drug that a supplier says was misleadingly obtained cleared the way for Arkansas to execute Ledell Lee on Thursday night, although he still had pending requests for reprieve. Arkansas dropped plans to execute a second inmate, Stacey Johnson, on the same day after the state Supreme Court said it wouldn't reconsider his stay.The state originally set four double executions over an 11-day period in April.

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