Speed Reads

Capital Punishment

Arkansas judge blocks state plans for 8 executions in April

An Arkansas judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order blocking the state from carrying out a planned eight executions before the end of April. One of the eight was previously stayed by a federal judge. The executions were scheduled to begin Monday and would have been the state's first in 12 years.

Judge Wendell Griffen's ruling specifically prohibits the state from using its supply of vecuronium bromide, a drug used for lethal injection which the manufacturer says was purchased by Arkansas under false pretenses. The state allegedly said it wanted the drug for medical use, not capital punishment.

A new hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. Arkansas intends to appeal the stay.