, Muskogee, OK

April 5, 2014

Oklahoma inmates to seek execution stays

Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY  — Lawyers for two Oklahoma death-row inmates say they believe they will be successful in their challenge to the state’s execution law, despite adverse U.S. Supreme Court rulings for condemned men from Missouri and Texas.

Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner sued the state of Oklahoma in February over what they called a “veil of secrecy” surrounding execution protocols and the origins of the drugs used in lethal injections. Although the state has released the method of execution it intends to use, the lawyers want to know where the drugs are coming from and who will be testing them to ensure efficacy and purity.

Recent cases in Missouri and Texas also seeking information on drug suppliers were not taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court, though lawyers for Lockett and Warner aren’t concerned because they’re not pursuing claims in federal court.

“We’re in a unique situation here because we only have state law claims,” said Seth Day, one of the inmates’ lawyers.

Day says he hasn’t fully studied the Texas case, but he believes an Oklahoma challenge to secrecy laws will have a different outcome.

“Those cases involved different levels of secrecy, none of which are as broad as ours, and none of which would have precluded the courts from obtaining that information,” Day said.