LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday denied a request from a group of condemned inmates to reconsider its recent decision upholding the state’s lethal-injection law.

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday denied a request from a group of condemned inmates to reconsider its recent decision upholding the state’s lethal-injection law.


But the court also granted a motion by the inmates to stay their executions so they can have time to pursue an appeal to U.S. Supreme Court.


In a one-page order, the state Supreme Court denied a petition for rehearing in the inmates’ challenge to the lethal-injection law. Justices Paul Danielson, Josephine Hart and Robin Wynne would have granted a rehearing — the same three justices who dissented from the court’s June 23 decision rejecting the inmates’ challenge to the law.


The eight inmates’ executions were stayed while their lawsuit was pending. In its order Thursday, the court also granted a motion by the inmates to stay their executions while they seek an appeal to the nation’s top court. Justices Karen Baker, Courtney Goodson and Rhonda Wood would have denied the motion.


Judd Deere, spokesman for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, said Thursday, "Attorney General Rutledge is gratified that the Arkansas Supreme Court rejected the prisoners’ challenges to its decision upholding Arkansas’s lethal injection statute.


"While she believes any petition to the U.S. Supreme Court will be futile and the Arkansas Supreme Court should have issued the mandate now, the attorney general is pleased that we are one step closer to obtaining justice for the victims. She is confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will reject the prisoners’ meritless request to review this case."


Jeff Rosenzweig, attorney for the inmates, said, "We’re going to be filing a timely petition for writ of (certiorari) in the U.S. Supreme Court. We’re disappointed that the court denied rehearing but glad that they have stayed the mandate to allow us to have the (U.S.) Supreme Court look at it."


A petition for writ of certiorari asks an appeals court to review the actions of a lower court.


The state Supreme Court’s ruling last month overturned a Dec. 3 ruling by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen that a provision in the lethal-injection law requiring the state Department of Correction to seek to keep secret the names of companies and people who provide execution drugs to the state is unconstitutional.


The state’s top court said disclosing a drug supplier’s identity would serve no useful purpose and that secrecy would aid the state in obtaining drugs from suppliers who would be disinclined to provide them for executions if their identities were to be made public.


Shortly after the state Supreme Court issued that ruling, the state’s supply of the paralytic vercuronium bromide, one of three drugs it intended to use in executions, expired. The Department of Correction said last week it has obtained a fresh supply of the drug.


Arkansas has not executed an inmate since 2005.