In a split decision Friday, the high court sided with 10 death row inmates who argued that, under Arkansas’ constitution, only the Legislature can set execution policy. Legislators in 2009 voted to give that authority to the Department of Correction.
It wasn’t immediately clear what the court’s ruling will mean for the 40 inmates on death row in Arkansas.
The state hasn’t put anyone to death since 2005, in part because of legal challenges like this one.
The court’s decision comes after a death row inmate sued the head of the correction department in 2010. He and nine other inmates asked the court to strike the law down. The state wanted the court to uphold it.