Arkansas AG seeks to move execution cases to federal court

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Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge with a bipartisan group of state attorneys general speaks to reporters in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. A bipartisan coalition of 48 states along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia said Monday it is investigating whether Google’s search and advertising business is engaged in monopolistic behavior. It follows a Friday announcement of a similar multistate probe targeting Facebook. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ attorney general is seeking to move lawsuits challenging a measure giving the prison director authority to determine an inmate’s competency to be executed to federal court.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Thursday filed notice to move the lawsuits by death row inmates Bruce Ward and Jack Greene from Jefferson County Circuit Court. The state Supreme Court in November struck down an earlier version of the mental competency law.

Legislators this year approved a reworked version of the law, and the inmates are seeking to have it overturned.

Rutledge’s filing says federal courts have jurisdiction since the inmates argue the new law violates the U.S. Constitution.

Arkansas has no executions scheduled and lacks the drugs needed for its lethal injection process.

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