LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Friday issued a temporary stay of a Pulaski County circuit judge’s order requiring the state to reveal how it obtained drugs it intends to use to carry out executions.

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Friday issued a temporary stay of a Pulaski County circuit judge’s order requiring the state to reveal how it obtained drugs it intends to use to carry out executions.


The state attorney general’s office requested the stay after Judge Wendell Griffen on Thursday ordered the state to disclose information about the suppliers of its execution drugs to a group of inmates who requested the information as part of a lawsuit challenging the state’s lethal-injection law.


The suit alleges in part that a provision added to the law this year requiring the source of execution drugs to be kept secret is unconstitutional. The state attorney general’s office says the law is constitutional and says disclosing the source of execution drugs would subject suppliers to criticism or negative publicity and make it difficult for the state to obtain the drugs.


Griffen ruled Thursday that the secrecy provision in the law violates the Arkansas Constitution. In his order granting partial summary judgment to the inmates, he gave the state Department of Correction until noon Friday to turn over the information.


The Supreme Court issued its temporary stay at 10:32 a.m. Friday. It gave the state 10 days to submit a brief arguing why the stay should remain in effect pending an appeal, and it gave the inmates 10 days after the filing of the state’s brief to file a response.


Justice Paul Danielson would have denied the temporary stay, the court noted in its order.


Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Friday he was "delighted" with the ruling.


"It was the right thing for the Supreme Court to do," he said. "It keeps the current protection from disclosure in place until the Supreme Court has the opportunity to review it."


Jeff Rosenzweig, attorney for the inmates, said Thursday he and his clients have decided not to make public comments for the remainder of the case.


In October, the state Supreme Court stayed all scheduled executions in the state. Arkansas has not executed a prisoner since 2005 because of legal challenges and difficulties in obtaining lethal-injection drugs.