CRIME

The Latest: Arkansas tries to reverse execution drug ruling

  • This photo provided by Cheryl Simon shows Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen taking part of an anti-death penalty demonstration outside the Governor's Mansion Friday, April 14, 2017 in Little Rock, Ark.  Griffen issued a temporary restraining order Friday blocking the state from using its supply of vecuronium bromide after a company said it had sold the drug to the state for medical purposes, not capital punishment.   Local media outlets had tweeted photos and video of Griffen appearing to mimic an inmate strapped to a gurney at the demonstration.   Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office said she planned to file an emergency request with the state Supreme Court to vacate Griffen's order, saying Griffen shouldn't handle the case.  (Cheryl Simon via AP)

    This photo provided by Cheryl Simon shows Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen taking part of an anti-death penalty demonstration outside the Governor's Mansion Friday, April 14, 2017 in Little Rock, Ark. Griffen issued a temporary restraining order Friday blocking the state from using its supply of vecuronium bromide after a company said it had sold the drug to the state for medical purposes, not capital punishment. Local media outlets had tweeted photos and video of Griffen appearing to mimic an inmate strapped to a gurney at the demonstration. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office said she planned to file an emergency request with the state Supreme Court to vacate Griffen's order, saying Griffen shouldn't handle the case. (Cheryl Simon via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This 2010 photo provided by the U.S District Court of Eastern District of Arkansas shows U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker. Baker,  dealt another blow Saturday, April 15, 2017, to Arkansas' unprecedented plan to execute eight inmates in an 11-day period, saying the men have the right to challenge a drug protocol that could expose them to "severe pain."  (Dixie Knight Photography/U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas via AP)

    This 2010 photo provided by the U.S District Court of Eastern District of Arkansas shows U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker. Baker, dealt another blow Saturday, April 15, 2017, to Arkansas' unprecedented plan to execute eight inmates in an 11-day period, saying the men have the right to challenge a drug protocol that could expose them to "severe pain." (Dixie Knight Photography/U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Protesters gather outside the state Capitol building on Friday, April 14, 2017, in Little Rock, Ark., to voice their opposition to Arkansas' seven upcoming executions. (AP Photo/Kelly P. Kissel)

    Protesters gather outside the state Capitol building on Friday, April 14, 2017, in Little Rock, Ark., to voice their opposition to Arkansas' seven upcoming executions. (AP Photo/Kelly P. Kissel)  (The Associated Press)

The Latest on Arkansas' efforts to execute six men by the end of April (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

Arkansas' attorney general is asking the state's highest court to vacate a judge's ruling that blocks the state from using one of its lethal injection drugs.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge also wants to remove the judge from the case after he participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration the day he issued his decision.

Rutledge on Saturday filed an emergency petition with the state Supreme Court after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen granted a temporary restraining order blocking the drug's use. A supplier of the drug accused Arkansas of misleadingly obtaining the product, saying it wasn't sold to be used for executions.

Rutledge's office noted Griffen's attendance at a death penalty demonstration outside the Governor's Mansion the same day the ruling was issued. Photos and video showed Griffen strapped to a cot, appearing to mimic a death row inmate on a gurney.

___

7 a.m.

A federal judge has halted Arkansas' already compromised plan to execute several inmates over an 11-day period starting next week.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Saturday granted a preliminary injunction requested by the inmates to block the executions. Arkansas was set to execute the first inmate by lethal injection on Monday night.

The state originally planned to execute eight inmates, but two had previously been blocked by state and federal courts. A state judge earlier Friday blocked the state from using a lethal injection drug, a move that could also halt the executions altogether.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson had scheduled the executions to take place before the state's supply of one of its lethal injection drugs expires at the end of the month. Arkansas hasn't executed an inmate since 2005 because of drug shortages and legal challenges.