executions

Q. Sakamaki/Redux

Attorneys will present arguments before a federal judge in Phoenix on Friday in one of two cases challenging the secrecy surrounding executions in Arizona.

Mark Henle/The Republic

A ruling by a federal judge keeps in play a temporary ban on executions in Arizona.

But it also lets condemned prisoners press forward with a lawsuit protesting the way the state has used the death penalty.

A 27-page ruling Wednesday night by U.S. District Judge Neil Wake dismissed parts of a suit by seven death-row inmates and the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona.

It seeks more transparency in the state's execution process and comes as Arizona is facing difficulties in getting lethal-injection drugs.

The Arizona Supreme Court granted a motion today to execute two more Arizona inmates this year.  The dates are set for the next two months. 

The execution date for 63-year-old Thomas Arnold Kemp Jr. has been set for April 25.  

Kemp was sentenced to death for kidnapping a man from a fast-food restaurant at gun point and killing him in 1992. 

Also, the execution date for 48-year-old Samuel Villegas Lopez has been set for May 16. 

He was convicted of raping, robbing and stabbing to death a 59-year-old woman in her Phoenix apartment in 1986.