LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The latest on the ongoing legal battle over an Arkansas law that keeps information about the supply of execution drugs secret (all times local):
The spokesman for the Arkansas attorney general's office says the state is pleased with the Arkansas Supreme Court's decision to issue a temporary stay of a mandate to release information about its lethal injection drugs.
Spokesman Judd Deere said the attorney general's office was working on the brief requested by the court to argue for a longer stay until its planned appeal of Thursday's ruling could be heard.
Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen ruled in favor of a group of death row inmates, striking down a portion of the state's execution law that allows the state to keep secret the source, maker and other information about its execution drugs.
An attorney for the inmates did not immediately return a request for comment Friday.
The state filed a notice of appeal Thursday, but an official appeal had not been filed with the state Supreme Court as of Friday.
The Arkansas Supreme Court has asked attorneys for both sides in the legal challenge to the state's execution secrecy law to submit briefs on whether the just-granted temporary stay of a mandate to release information about its lethal injection drugs should remain.
The court issued the temporary stay about an hour before the noon Friday deadline set by Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen.
The attorney general's office had asked for a stay of that mandate pending its appeal of Griffen's Thursday ruling that struck down the secrecy portion of the state's execution law.
The temporary stay was granted so the court can review written arguments for a longer stay that would last through the state's appeal. The order gives the state's attorneys until Dec. 14 to submit their brief.
The Arkansas Supreme Court has granted the state's request to put on hold a mandate to turn over information about the source of its execution drugs.
The temporary stay was issued about an hour before a noon Friday deadline set by Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen, who ruled the day before that the state must disclose the information.
The Arkansas attorney general's office asked for the stay and also has filed a notice that it will appeal Griffen's ruling.
Griffen sided with death row inmates challenging the constitutionality of the secrecy portion of the state's execution law, saying drug suppliers do not have a constitutional right to be free from criticism.
The inmates said early Friday that the state had not proven it would be irreparably harmed by the disclosure since it has already obtained the drugs.
Death row inmates who are challenging Arkansas' execution law say the state has not proven it would be harmed if it's forced to release information about the state's supply of lethal injection drugs.
The inmates filed a response Friday morning before the Arkansas Supreme Court, which is being asked by the state to issue an emergency order halting disclosure of the drug information. On Thursday, a circuit judge found the secrecy provision of Arkansas' execution law unconstitutional and ordered the state to release the drug information by noon Friday.
In their court filing Friday, the inmates argue that Arkansas wouldn't be harmed by the disclosure because the state already has the lethal drugs in its possession.
Executions in Arkansas are currently on hold as the case makes its way through the courts.
This story has been corrected to say the state's written brief is due Dec. 14, not the written brief from the inmates' attorneys which is due 10 days after the state files its document.