"I understand how hard this is on the victims' families, and my heart goes out to them as they once again deal with the continued court review; however, the last minute court reviews are all part of the hard process of death penalty cases", Hutchinson said in a statement. Griffen, who served 12 years on the state appeals court, previously battled with the panel over remarks he made criticizing President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq.
Even with the stays in place and questions remaining before a number of courts, executions are still possible Monday night.
Baker's ruling prompted McKesson Corp., a medical supply company, to ask Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen to vacate his Friday order blocking the executions over the company's claims the vecuronium bromide was sold to the state for medical purposes, not lethal injection.
Arkansas is asking the state's highest court to reconsider its decision to halt the execution of one of the first inmates who had been scheduled to die under a plan to execute several men before the end of the month.
U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker, in a 101-page ruling, found the state's plan would deny the inmates their legal rights by depriving them of adequate counsel because prison officials allow only a single lawyer to be present for any execution. The inmates say midazolam is unsuitable as an execution drug, saying it is not a painkiller and could subject them to a cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Each of these drugs has prompted controversy in this case, but none more than midazolam. Some states have barred the use of the drug, and courts have reached different decisions on what inmates would have to do to suggest alternative means of execution.
Writing in a dissent, Associate Justice Shawn Womack lamented the court's ruling.
The initial order for execution came from the state's governor Asa Hutchinson.
Rutledge is evaluating options on how to proceed, Deere said.More news: Iran's Rouhani registers to run for re-election
The other drugs involved have also prompted criticism.
It's also appealing Griffen's order that the prison system not use a paralyzing drug until he could determine whether the state obtained it properly. A pharmaceutical supplier alleges that the state bought the drug deceptively, actively misleading the seller about what it would be used for. If court proceedings are pushed into May, Arkansas won't be able to carry out the executions with the drugs it has on hand. Baker opted for the test developed by the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. "After hearing the evidence ... the court is compelled to stay these executions", she said.
Hutchinson had expressed misgivings about the execution schedule, saying that he set the dates because of the looming expiration date on the midazolam.
"The current schedule does not conform to the standards followed in a civilized society", they wrote.
The executions had originally been expected to start on Monday.
"Reject the state's request for a rushed analysis of this complex record", they wrote. A relative of Daniel's declined to be interviewed.
Bruce Earl Ward and Don William Davis Jr. were scheduled to die Monday night in the first two of eight executions over 11 days.
Ward was convicted of killing a convenience store clerk.
The states also asks the court to remove Griffen from the case because they argue that Griffen can't be "considered remotely impartial" on the death penalty due to his actions on Friday. In a petition to that court, Ward's attorneys described him as a diagnosed schizophrenic who has spent decades in solitary confinement without treatment for his mental illness and argued that he was not competent to be executed.