LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas officials asked a judge Thursday to reject an effort by eight inmates facing execution next month to prevent the state from putting them to death, calling the move an attempt to delay a case that's already over.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office said it asked a Pulaski County judge to dismiss the inmates' complaint challenging Arkansas' lethal injection law and its three-drug protocol as unconstitutional. Governor Asa Hutchinson has scheduled four double executions for the eight men beginning April 17, and the state announced this week it had enough lethal injection drugs to put the men to death.
The inmates' latest challenge was filed shortly before Hutchinson scheduled the executions. But Rutledge's office said the case ended when the state Supreme Court upheld Arkansas' execution law, which keeps the source of its lethal injection drugs secret.
"This second amended complaint is nothing more than a procedurally-improper attempt to artificially prolong a case...that the Arkansas Supreme Court has dismissed," the filing released by Rutledge's office said. The filing was not available on the Pulaski County clerk's website Thursday evening.
Earlier Thursday, the state Supreme Court rejected a separate attempt by one of the inmates to block his execution. Justices denied a motion to recall the mandate in the case of convicted murderer Jason McGehee, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection on April 27. McGehee's attorney had asked justices to vacate his death sentence and send his case back to a lower court for resentencing, citing problems with the verdict forms in his resentencing.
McGehee's attorneys had filed the motion two weeks before Hutchinson had scheduled his execution.