Arkansas prepares for double execution after federal judges deny stay requests

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Arkansas is preparing to execute two inmates on Monday evening after federal judges refused to grant stays.

Arkansas is seeking to execute Jack Jones and Marcel Williams, the Associated Press reports in stories here and here. A double execution in the United States was last carried out more than 16 years ago.

The inmates claimed they could experience extreme pain during the executions because of their poor health. A federal judge on Friday refused a stay based on the health concerns. Another federal judge denied a stay on Sunday, and a third judge on Sunday refused to change the rules that govern execution witnesses.

Jones said he faces a “tortuous death” because of diabetes, high blood pressure and neuropathy. Williams said his 400-pound weight will make it difficult for executioners to find a vein for the lethal injection.

Arkansas executed a third inmate, Ledell Lee, last Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay request. The court’s newest justice, Neil Gorsuch, was in the five-justice majority that voted to deny the stay.

Courts have stayed the executions of four of the eight inmates Arkansas had hoped to execute this month before its execution sedative midazolam reaches its expiration date.

ABA President Linda Klein had asked Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to delay the April executions. Klein expressed concern in a letter that the execution schedule “prioritizes expediency above due process.”




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