LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A U.S. judge in Little Rock on Saturday temporarily blocked plans by Arkansas to hold a rapid series of executions this month, after the inmates argued the state's rush to the death chamber was unconstitutional and reckless.
Arkansas planned to kill seven convicted murderers beginning Monday — the most in such a short time period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
The state originally planned to execute eight inmates in four days. The state Supreme Court on Friday granted a stay of execution on one of the seven, and an eighth inmate whom the state planned to execution won an earlier stay.
The reason for the rush, according to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson was that one of the sedatives in the lethal injection mix expires at the end of the month.
Writer and activist Shane Claiborne, Sr. Helen Prejean, and others celebrated the news, as they advocate against the death penalty.
On Good Friday, it's important to remember that Jesus was, for a time, on the equivalent of Death Row and was a victim of the death penalty.— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) April 14, 2017
Reuters reporting contributed to this story.