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story.lead_photo.caption Executions have been set for (top row, from left) Kenneth Williams, Jack Jones Jr., Marcel Williams, Bruce Earl Ward, and (bottom row, from left) Don Davis, Stacey Johnson, Jason McGehee and Ledell Lee.

LITTLE ROCK — Eight death row inmates are asking an Arkansas judge to stop their executions, arguing that the state's refusal to reveal where it gets execution drugs is unconstitutional.

Similar arguments have been unsuccessfully used to challenge other state's secrecy laws, but the filing argues that Arkansas' new law violates a previous settlement with the state that ensured inmates would be given the information. The inmates' attorneys say the settlement constitutes a contract, and the Arkansas Constitution prohibits laws from being passed to undermine a contract.

The 58-page amended brief, filed Monday night in Pulaski County Circuit Court, also challenges the state's three-drug protocol, which includes the sedative midazolam. The sedative gained notoriety after being used during executions that took longer than expected last year in Missouri, Ohio and Oklahoma, though the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the drug's use in executions in June.

Still, attorney Jeff Rosenzweig argues that the drug cannot sufficiently mask "serious pain and suffering."

"Midazolam cannot, at any dosage, render a person unconscious and insensate to pain, and the other drugs in the listed protocol indisputably cause extreme pain and suffering," he wrote in the filing.

Nine inmates are included in the suit, thought only eight have exhausted all appeals and are scheduled for executions.

Arkansas is scheduled to resume executions Oct. 21, after a 10-year delay.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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Archived Comments

  • PoppaBug
    September 29, 2015 at 4:33 p.m.

    it seems these days that inmates have more constitutional standing than the common tax paying, job holding, law abiding, person.

  • itryed
    September 29, 2015 at 5:02 p.m.

    Wonder how much pain they inflicted?

  • punk47
    September 29, 2015 at 5:05 p.m.

    Forget the injection stuff and just fry them better jet a slug from the Rem plant here in Ark will due just fine.

  • Kharma
    September 29, 2015 at 7 p.m.

    They alternated the pics black - white - black etc. How cute. What would 8 .22lr rounds cost? A few pennies?

  • TheBatt
    September 29, 2015 at 8:02 p.m.

    What in the world does "secrecy" regarding drug suppliers have to do with convicted and fully-appealed guilty sentences, and fully-appealed death sentences?

    When you choose to commit the kind of heinous crime that draws the death penalty, you forfeit any right you have to complain about the sentence imposed on you for that crime.

    I hear so much about the cost of the death penalty. This is an artificial cost inflicted upon the courts and idioticnjudgesnwhonhave never been victimized by these monsters.

    I have no problem with an appeals process as a form of checks and balances. Courts can and do sometimes get things wrong. But 10-20 years of appeals, delays, and scamming the system- of course the cost is insane.

    Maybe it's time for the Arkansas legislature to authorize other Suoreme Court upheld execution methods. Hanging being one of them. Firing squad being another.

  • Dondi
    September 29, 2015 at 8:43 p.m.

    I just wish the execution would be made public and keep the curtain open and let
    these fine people watch the agony . All the executions in the world will not bring the victims back to life. Taken away their liberty for life is a worst punishment.

  • MaxCady
    September 29, 2015 at 9:22 p.m.

    From the looks of most of them if they just kept on feeding them the high carb prison diet and laying around a cell all day. They'd all succumb to heart attack or metabolic syndrome in a matter of time.

  • Packman
    September 29, 2015 at 10:51 p.m.

    In the interest of good journalism, a quick recounting of the crimes for which all were convicted would be most appropriate.