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Judge issues temporary restraining order halting Arkansas executions

By Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Staff

This article was originally published April 14, 2017 at 6:59 p.m. Updated April 14, 2017 at 7:18 p.m.

pulaski-county-circuit-judge-wendell-griffen-on-friday-issued-a-temporary-restraining-order-blocking-arkanas-scheduled-executions

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on Friday issued a temporary restraining order blocking Arkanas' scheduled executions.

A Pulaski County circuit judge has issued a temporary restraining order barring the state from executing condemned inmates it had planned to put to death beginning Monday.

The state Attorney General's office said it would immediately seek to have the order overturned by Arkansas' high court.

Judge Wendell Griffen's order came after the Arkansas Supreme Court issued an emergency stay blocking the execution of Bruce Ward, who was scheduled to be put to death Monday.

An emergency hearing is scheduled in Griffen's court Tuesday morning. Click here to read the full order ๐Ÿ“„ .

Under Arkansas' protocol, midazolam is used to sedate the inmate, vecuronium bromide then stops the inmate's breathing and potassium chloride stops the heart.

[IN-DEPTH: A look at the condemned inmates whose executions were scheduled for this month]

Medical supplier McKesson sold the state vecuronium bromide. In a statement Thursday night, McKesson said it complained to the state after learning that Arkansas planned to use the drug for lethal injections. The state said it would return the drug, McKesson said, and the company issued a refund, but the drug was never returned.

McKesson said it was considering "all possible means" to get the drug back and on Friday filed a complaint in Pulaski County. Click here to read the full complaint ๐Ÿ“„ .

Griffen about half an hour after the complaint was filed issued the restraining order.

[RELATED: Johnny Depp, Damien Echols speak at rally at Arkansas Capitol against death penalty]

The order informs the state that it "shall not use the vercuronium bromide obtained from [McKesson] until ordered otherwise by this Court."

Judd Deere, a spokesman for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, criticized Griffen for hearing the complaint.

โ€œAs a public opponent of capital punishment, Judge Griffen should have recused himself from this case," Deere said. "Attorney General Rutledge intends to file an emergency request with the Arkansas Supreme Court to vacate the order as soon as possible.โ€

Check back for updates and read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Comments on: Judge issues temporary restraining order halting Arkansas executions

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Analyst2 says... April 14, 2017 at 7:23 p.m.

How does a county judge have the authority to stop a state ordered execution?

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LR1955 says... April 14, 2017 at 7:40 p.m.

Meanwhile, a LR city bus has executed an innocent pedestrian.

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Kharma says... April 14, 2017 at 8:08 p.m.

He's Circuit Court Judge.

When I read the headline I wondered if it was this dillweed. Sheeesh.

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snakebite61 says... April 14, 2017 at 8:16 p.m.

when Mckesson sold the drug to the state what did they think we were going to use it for ?

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Happy1234 says... April 14, 2017 at 8:27 p.m.

Leslie Rutledge should know when to shut up.
This fiasco has become an international embarrassment for our already disparaged state.

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hurricane46 says... April 14, 2017 at 8:30 p.m.

Either put them to sleep or put them in solitary with only bread and water, but hell, DO something.

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Tigermule says... April 14, 2017 at 8:30 p.m.

Leave it to that dip sh*t Griffin to do this. Loves the spotlight and being controversial.

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NoUserName says... April 14, 2017 at 8:39 p.m.

Griffen has been twice overturned on appeal. He will no doubt do whatever it takes to stick it to the high court, whose rulings he has criticized. Given Griffen's public comments on unrelated matters, I do not believe is should be a sitting judge. He's an embarrassment.

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TravisBickle says... April 14, 2017 at 8:39 p.m.

I'm surprised Griffen didn't specify the order for the blacks only!

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AuntPetunia says... April 14, 2017 at 8:45 p.m.

For the love of God, stop the insanity! Since we don't have drug companies that want their product to be used for execution and we don't have the guts to shoot these scum, then just let them rot in a hell hole for the rest of their unnatural lives. I AM SICK OF THE DRAMA AND EMOTIONAL RESOURCES THAT ARE WASTED ON THESE OXYGEN THEIVES!!!

I AM SICK OF BLEEDING HEARTS CRYING ABOUT THEIR KILLER BABIES GETTING HURT BY THE SCARY DRUGS! JUST STOP THE EFFIN' CRAP NOW! LOCK THEM UP, PUT THEM ON A CHAIN GANG, PUT THEM IN A BOX, I DON'T CARE. I AM SO SICK OF HEARING ABOUT THESE WHINING SOCIOPATHS AND THOSE THAT CODDLE AND ENABLE THEM. Sorry for the shouting

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