- Associated Press - Friday, October 2, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he’s not considering seeking any delays in Arkansas’ executions scheduled for later this month after those in neighboring Oklahoma were halted due to the wrong lethal injection drug being delivered there.

The Republican governor said he hasn’t had any second thoughts about setting the execution dates for eight death row inmates, or a law he signed earlier this year keeping secret the supplier of Arkansas’ lethal injection drugs. The eight inmates’ lawyer is challenging the new law and has asked a judge to halt the executions. The first two inmates are scheduled to be put to death on Oct. 21.

“Had it not been set, then we would be sitting here two years, three years from now waiting for the next court challenge,” Hutchinson told reporters. “Nothing moves if the governor does not set the date.”

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals granted the state’s request to halt three scheduled executions after its Department of Correction received the wrong drug just hours before an inmate was to be executed Wednesday.

Oklahoma has a law similar to one Hutchinson signed earlier this year that keeps confidential key details of who supplies the state’s lethal injection drug. Hutchinson defended his support of that law.

“I think that law was a good law, it was an important law, that allowed the marketplace to work better and the supply without the private sector worrying about retaliation or reaction from their suppliers,” Hutchinson said. “I think that confidentiality is important.”

The lawsuit filed by the Arkansas death row inmates calls that law unconstitutional. The lawsuit also calls the use of the specific drugs under the state protocol cruel and unusual punishment and argues that not allowing the inmates to research the manufacturers and the personnel involved in the execution -because of the secrecy law- denies them the right to determine whether the drugs will lead to cruel and unusual punishment

Arkansas has not carried out an execution since 2005. A Pulaski County judge has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday on the suit.

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Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo

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