by Max Brantley
The victims’ families have waited far too long to see justice for their loved ones, and today’s decision from Judge Marshall allows all but one of the scheduled executions to move forward. Attorney General Rutledge will respond to any and all challenges that might occur between now and the executions as the prisoners continue to use all available means to delay their lawful sentencesUPDATE: Here's the summary of the judge's order:
The Motion for Preliminary Injunction is partly granted, partly denied, and held in abeyance as to Jones. When the Board gives public notice of its recommendation about Jones, the Board Defendants must also notify this Court. The Court stays Jason McGehee's execution and enjoins Governor Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Correction Director Wendy Kelley from carrying out McGehee's death sentence until the Arkansas Parole Board complies with Ark. Code Ann.§ 16-93-204(e) and until Governor Hutchinson acts on the Board's recommendation. In due course, the Board Defendants must file notice of statutory compliance. Thereafter, whenever the Governor exercises his discretion and acts on the Board's merit recommendation about McGehee, the Governor must file notice of his decision.Federal Public Defender John Williams commented:
We're pleased the court gave Jason McGehee relief. In his ruling, Judge Marshall was clearly troubled by the State's clemency process. Judge Marshall found the State has violated its own statutes and regulations. He was emphatic that the clemency process has been shoddy and arbitrary in many respects. And he made clear that this case will continue. Though the State succeeded in defending most of the plaintiffs' current execution dates, there is little for the State to be proud of in that success.