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Arkansas Supreme Court allows planned executions to go forward

[JURIST] The Arkansas Supreme Court [official website] issued an order [order, PDF] on Thursday stating there is no stay in place preventing the execution of eight inmates schedule for next month. The order came after Attorney General Leslie Rutledge [official website] requested that the court clarify that there is in fact no stay on the inmates' execution. Attorneys for the inmates argued that the court should invalidate Governor Asa Hutchinson's [official website] proclamation scheduling the executions for April because they filed an an amended complaint in a lower court. The court stated that it lifted its stay following the US Supreme Court denied review of the state court's ruling. The state has not executed [AP report] an inmate since 2005 due to the legal challenges against its lethal injection law and difficulties obtaining the drugs required.

The death penalty has been a pressing issue across the country. Earlier this month the Mississippi house approved a bill [JURIST report] allowing firing squad executions. Also this month a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio refused to lift [JURIST report] a preliminary injunction that delays executions in Ohio. Last month Judge Michael Merz blocked [JURIST report] Ohio's lethal injection protocol by deeming it unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. In January the US Supreme Court refused [JURIST report] to consider a challenge to Alabama's death penalty system. In December a report by the Death Penalty Information Center found that the use of capital punishment in the US is at a 20-year low [JURIST report].

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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