Pulaski County Judge Effectively Blocks All Executions

Apr 19, 2017

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray
Credit Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Arkansas’s now six scheduled executions this month have been effectively stayed, again. This time it’s the result of a drug supplier suing to block usage of its product in the state’s lethal injections.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Alice Gray in Little Rock has granted a temporary injunction in favor of the drug supplier McKesson Corp. The company says the Department of Correction used deceptive practices to obtain its vecuronium bromide.

Testimony from both sides diverged on whether prison officials were forthright that they were ordering the drugs for use in an execution. 

Correction officials say they have no other supply of the drug and cannot obtain it elsewhere. All executions are now stayed while the state appeals.

Arkansas has been trying to execute eight men before its supply of another drug, midazolam, expires. Midazolam, along with the paralytic vecuronium bromide, and potassium chloride which in heavy doses will stop the heart, comprise the state's three-drug lethal injection procedure.