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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Ark. Judge Seeks Details on Execution Drugs

(CN) - The state of Arkansas must release the name of its supplier of lethal injection drugs to lawyers for death row inmates challenging the state's execution secrecy law, a state judge ruled Monday.

Pulaski County circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen ordered the state to identify the manufacturers, distributor, seller or supplier of the three drugs used in the state's lethal injection protocol by Oct. 21.

Among the items Griffen said should be turned over to the lawyers are shipping labels, laboratory test results, and package inserts.

State law allows the drugs' names to be withheld, but attorneys for the several death row inmates are currently arguing that secrecy prevents their ability to challenge what they claim could be a cruel and unusual form of punishment.

Griffen's order said the state can submit a request a protective order for the information.

A spokesman for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said she is considering her options. One alternative would be to appeal Griffen's order to the state's Supreme Court.

Just last week, Judge Griffen delayed the executions of eight inmates.

"Proceeding with Plaintiffs' executions as scheduled, without allowing parties adequate time to conduct discovery, respond to all outstanding claims and motions, and proceed to a trial on the merits on Plaintiffs' challenges to the Method of Execution Statute and the ADC's execution protocol, will rob Plaintiffs of an opportunity to litigate their rights under the Arkansas Constitution," he said Friday.

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