'Chaotic' Day Ends With SCOTUS Sparing Ark. Inmate

Don Davis' death warrant has now expired
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 18, 2017 1:54 AM CDT
Supreme Court Blocks Arkansas Execution
"We will continue to fight back on last-minute appeals and efforts to block justice for the victims' families," Hutchinson said.   (AP Photo/Brian Chilson, File)

The US Supreme Court spared the life of an Arkansas inmate minutes before his death warrant was set to expire Monday, scuttling the state's efforts to carry out four double executions before its supply of a lethal injection drug expires. The court's decision to maintain the Arkansas Supreme Court's stay for Don Davis capped a chaotic day of legal wrangling in state and federal courts to clear the obstacles Arkansas faced to carrying out its first executions since 2005, the AP reports. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state would continue to push for the other lethal injections to be carried out. Two inmates are set to be put to death on Thursday.

The Supreme Court ruling came hours after the state had cleared two main obstacles to resuming executions. The 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal judge's ruling blocking the executions over the use of midazolam, a drug used in flawed executions in other states. The state Supreme Court also lifted a lower court ruling preventing the state from using another drug that a supplier said was sold to be used for medical purposes, not executions—but it granted Davis a stay until the US Supreme Court hears an upcoming case on defendants with mental health problems. (Arkansas decided not to challenge a stay of execution for the other inmate who'd been scheduled to die on Monday.)

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