Hobbs v. Jones (Majority, with Dissenting)Annotate this Case
Ten death-row inmates filed amended complaints against Appellants, the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) and its director, asserting several causes of action. Relevant to this appeal, the prisoners (1) asserted that the Method of Execution Act (MEA) was unconstitutional on the basis of separation of powers; (2) claimed that the use of non-FDA approved chemicals purchased from a foreign driving school violated the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment and the prisoners' due process rights; and (3) asked for injunctive relief to enjoin the ADC from executing prisoners with the non-FDA approved chemicals. The circuit court concluded (1) the MEA was unconstitutional; and (2) prisoners' additional claims were moot because ADC had disposed of all and was unable to obtain any additional lethal chemicals from the overseas supplier. The court then enjoined ADC from using any sodium thiopental obtained in violation of any state or federal law. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the circuit court's order to the extent it declared the MEA unconstitutional and found the additional claims were moot; but (2) reversed the circuit court's order striking language from the statute, as the entire statute was unconstitutional, and granting injunctive relief.