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Timeline of Execution Lawsuits

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Several lawsuits ongoing Thursday in state, appeals and federal courts as Arkansas prepared to execute two death row inmates, Stacey Johnson and Ledell Lee. (MGN Photo)

Several lawsuits ongoing Thursday in state, appeals and federal courts as Arkansas prepared to execute two death row inmates, Stacey Johnson and Ledell Lee.

11:56 p.m. ---

Ledell Lee was pronounced dead by way of lethal injection. The execution drugs were administered at 11:44 p.m.

11:26: p.m. ---

U.S. Supreme Court lifts stay of execution for death row inmate Ledell Lee.

9:15 p.m. ---

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals denies all three requests for stays by Ledell Lee. Six stays of execution are before the U.S. Supreme Court.

8:24 p.m. ---

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals extends its temporary stay on Lee's execution until 9:15 p.m.


8:15 p.m. ---

U.S. Supreme Court issues a stay on death row inmate Ledell Lee's execution until 8:30 p.m.


8:00 p.m. ---

Death row inmate Ledell Lee applies for a stay of his execution with the U.S. Supreme Court.

7:00 p.m. ---

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals grants a temporary stay until 8:15 p.m. of Ledell Lee’s execution to give the court time to decide the cases.

6:10 p.m. ---

The Eighth Circuit has denied a motion from the inmates to stay the execution. This motion was one of only two remaining lawsuits that could stop the execution of Ledell Lee on Thursday night. The U.S. Supreme Court could intervene, stopping all Arkansas executions under McGehee v. Hutchinson. The injunction in that lawsuit had been put in place by federal District Court Judge Kristine Baker and overturned by the Eighth Circuit. Lee also has a pending lawsuit in federal District Court Judge Marshall's court alleging the DNA law in Arkansas is unconstitutional.

6:02 p.m. ---

Ledell Lee files a new lawsuit in federal district court. The lawsuit alleges that Arkansas' DNA testing law is unconstitutional and was applied unfairly by the Arkansas Supreme Court. Lee asks for an immediate stay of his execution scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

5:30 p.m. ---

The Arkansas Supreme Court denied the Attorney General's motion to reconsider its stay on the execution of Stacey Johnson. Rutledge said she will not appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court of the United States.

5:20 p.m. ---

The State Supreme Court denied a request by Lee to stay his execution. Lee argued further DNA testing was needed in his case.

4:06 p.m. ---

The State Supreme Court grants Rutledge's motion to stay Judge Gray's injunction, allowing Ledell Lee's execution to proceed.

3:00 p.m. --

Attorney General Rutledge asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to reconsider the stay put on the execution of Stacey Johnson. Rutledge argued the court itself in 2006 held that another DNA test was "not necessary." She asked the court to further explain it's decision to halt Johnson's execution stating, "the victims of those who have been viciously murdered in Arkansas...deserve at a minimum a reasoned explanation as to why the Court has now, ten years later, and on the eve of Johnson's execution entirely reversed its prior position.

1:16 p.m. ---

State Supreme Court denied a request by prisoner Ledell Lee to stay his execution. Lee argued his lawyers were "ineffective."

12:52 p.m. ---

Drug manufacturers of the two other drugs used in the three drug execution protocol ask to join McKesson's lawsuit with a "friend of the court" brief. West Ward Pharmacy produced the sedative midazolam, saying the use in executions diverts critical medicine from advancing human health to ending human life. Fresenius produced the potassium chloride and opposed the use of its drug in any execution.

12:04 p.m. ---

Attorney General Rutledge petitions the Arkansas Supreme Court for an emergency stay of Judge Gray's restraining order on the use of the vecuronium bromide. Rutledge argues that the restraining order essentially stops executions in Arkansas from going forward.

11:45 a.m. ---

Judge Alice Gray issues a written restraining order prohibiting the state from using or destroying the drug from supplier McKesson Corp. Gray says the state acted in "bad faith" when it purchased the drug without informing the company about its intention to use it in an execution.

10:41 a.m. ---

The Attorney General has asked the Arkansas Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to force Circuit Court Judge Alice Gray to issue a written version of her temporary restraining order. Attorney General Rutledge argued, "The state's hands are tied until the circuit court enters a written order." The Supreme Court would not consider an appeal of the restraining order until Judge Gray issued a written order.