US Supreme Court stops execution of Arkansas death row inmate

US Supreme Court stops execution of Arkansas death row inmate

Monday marked the first day that the U.S. Supreme Court was in session with new Justice Neil Gorsuch on the bench.

At the heart of the fight is an unprecedented flurry of executions that have pushed Arkansas to the forefront of the American death penalty at a time when states are increasingly retreating from the practice.

Earlier, Davis had his "last meal" at the Cummins Unit, where the execution chamber is located. She argued that Arkansas's practice of lethal injection could be proven unconstitutional due to the possibility of "severe pain" before death.

The state would use a three-drug lethal injection protocol.

Catholic leaders praised the federal and state rulings that granted stays of executions for a group of Arkansas death-row inmates during the week of April 17.

The Arkansas Supreme Court decision prompted a stinging dissent from Associate Justice Shawn Womack, who called it "inconceivable that this court, with the facts and the law well established, stays these executions over speculation that the Supreme Court might change the law". That order remains in place.

She made her plans known in a status update filed Monday with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Theyhad requested a delay Wednesday, citing the need to wait for the conclusion of a U.S. Supreme Court case, McWilliams v. Dunn. The justices are set to hold oral arguments on April 24.

The state's plan to carry out a double execution on Monday night was scuttled after stays were issued for the two death row inmates. He wrote that Ward and Davis have had "decades of appeals" and that the victims' families deserved closure. They filed a separate petition for stays on Monday with the U.S. Supreme Court over a procedural matter.

Texas conducted the last successful dual executions in the United States in 2000.

However, after their lawyers argued they were mentally unfit to face execution, the Supreme Court issued a last-minute stay.

Lee's attorneys have separately asked a federal judge to consider claims that Lee has fetal alcohol syndrome, brain damage and an intellectual disability.

Arkansas' supply of one key execution drug expires April 30. The state is planning to begin the executions on Easter Monday. "Davis was convicted of his crimes in 1992, and my office took every action it could today to see that justice was carried out", Rutledge said in a statement.

"After the darkness of Good Friday has come a great light", Karen Clifton, executive director of the Catholic Mobilizing Network against the Death Penalty, said in an April 16 statement.

At the demonstration, Griffen was strapped to a cot.

According to AP, the judge said he's morally opposed to the death penalty, but that his beliefs shouldn't prevent him from taking up certain cases.

The state decided not to challenge the stay for Ward.

The first prisoner scheduled to die was Ward, who was convicted in 1990 of murdering an 18-year-old shop assistant named Rebecca Doss.

The plan for six to eight quick-fire executions in less than two weeks has never before been attempted in the modern era of the USA death penalty.

The judge determined that their concerns were sufficient to halt the executions for the time being, to allow the issue to be considered by the courts.

Ward's attorneys say he's a diagnosed schizophrenic with no rational understanding of his impending execution.

The governor is monitoring the courts and plans to visit with the attorney general and Arkansas Department of Correction leaders to discuss any next steps.

Over the weekend a federal judge postponed all of the executions. The state has appealed. He is one of two inmates scheduled for execution Thursday.