- Associated Press - Monday, April 17, 2017

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas’ attorney general says she will seek an “immediate review” of a state Supreme Court decision that halted two executions set for Monday, though several other legal obstacles remain for the state to carry out its plan.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge did not say where she would seek a review, but she could ask either the Arkansas Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court for one.

She made her plans known in a status update filed Monday with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Rutledge said the state court’s ruling was based “on a misinterpretation of federal law.”

The state court, in a 4-3 decision, stayed the executions for Don Davis and Bruce Ward while the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a separate case concerning access to independent mental health experts by defendants. The U.S. high court is set to hold oral arguments in that case April 24.

Meanwhile, a federal appeals court has cleared one legal obstacle Arkansas faces in its plan to execute several inmates.

The state still must overcome other court orders blocking the inmates’ executions if it is to carry out any of the lethal injections it had scheduled for the last two weeks of April.

The inmates’ attorneys say they were denied access to independent mental health experts. They’ve argued that Ward has a lifelong history of severe mental illness and that Davis has an IQ in the range of intellectual disability.

Arkansas’ supply of one key execution drug expires April 30. A federal judge has also stayed the executions on different grounds, and the state has appealed that ruling.



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