Death Penalty
8:28 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Oklahoma Supreme Court Says OK to Executions

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has rejected claims by two death row inmates that they're entitled to know the source of the drugs that will be used to kill them.

The main gate at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla.
Credit duggar11 / Flickr Creative Commons

In a ruling late Wednesday, the state's high court also lifted a stay of execution it had granted earlier in the week.

The decision paves the way for death row inmates Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner to receive a lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

A stay issued on Tuesday by Gov. Mary Fallin remains in place for Lockett, but only until April 29, the same day Warner is scheduled to die.

Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz has said it's possible both men could be executed on April 29.

An attorney for the two Oklahoma death row inmates set for execution says the state's secrecy about lethal injection "undermines our courts and democracy."

Attorney Seth Day represents Lockett and Warner, and says Oklahomans have no way of knowing whether the executions will be carried out "in a constitutional and humane manner" and whether the lethal drugs were obtained legally.

But Attorney General Scott Pruitt says the Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld a long-standing precedent that says the source of the drugs should remain confidential. Pruitt noted that neither Lockett nor Warner challenged their guilt or death sentences.

Earlier Wednesday, a member of the Oklahoma House drafted a resolution seeking the impeachment of state Supreme Court justices who granted a delay of execution to two death row inmates.

Republican state Rep. Mike Christian told The Associated Press that the five justices engaged in a "willful neglect of duty" when they granted stays of execution Monday to Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner, both of whom were scheduled to be executed this month.

Fallin issued an executive order on Tuesday delaying the execution of Clayton Lockett until April 29. In her order, Fallin claims the stay ordered by the state's high court is "outside the constitutional authority of that body."

The stay granted by the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday also canceled the execution of inmate Charles Warner. The two inmates are challenging the secrecy protocol surrounding the source of Oklahoma's lethal injection drugs.

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