LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Latest on Arkansas' efforts to execute six men by the end of April (all times local):
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.
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.