The Arkansas Supreme Court issued a batch of orders today related to appeals from Death Row inmates. They included cursory denials of stays of execution for Ledell Lee and Stacey Johnson, both scheduled to die April 20. The men have exhausted standard appeals, but are continuing post-conviction relief proceedings.
Lee, convicted of the fatal beating of Debra Reese of Little Rock, has alleged incompetence of counsel in an earlier proceeding. Johnson, convicted of the fatal beating of Carol Heath of DeQueen, insists he’s innocent and is seeking DNA testing.
Though a variety of actions are pending at the state level, major contests are pending in federal court over the execution process and a shortening of the clemency process to allow for eight executions in 10 days before a supply of an anesthetic used in the killing expires. Six inmates have clemency applications pending and the state Parole Board has recommended clemency in one case. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has decided none of these yet.