In Arkansas, the state Supreme Court has granted a stay of execution to death row prisoner Stacey Johnson, who was slated to die by lethal injection today. The stay was one of two new legal setbacks to Arkansas’s unprecedented plan to execute eight men this month. In a separate ruling Wednesday, Judge Alice Gray sided with a pharmaceutical company arguing it had sold Arkansas the drug vecuronium bromide for medical use, not for executions—dealing another blow to Arkansas’s execution attempts. Arkansas has faced growing protests over its execution plans, including from state Judge Wendell Griffen, who had just issued a restraining order over an execution drug, laid on a cot for over an hour outside the Governor’s Mansion during a protest last week. He’s since been barred from taking death penalty-related cases. To see our full interviews about Arkansas’s unprecedented execution attempts, go to democracynow.org.
Meanwhile, in Louisiana, Rodricus Crawford has become the 158th person exonerated from death row in the U.S. since 1973. Crawford was wrongly convicted of murdering his son, despite evidence the 1-year-old child died of pneumonia and sepsis.