US ex­e­cu­tions on hold over lethal drug se­cret

Daily Trust - - WORLD -

A sharply di­vided Ok­la­homa Supreme Court has put on hold the ex­e­cu­tions of two death row in­mates who have chal­lenged the se­crecy sur­round­ing the source of the state’s lethal in­jec­tion drugs.

In a 5-4 de­ci­sion, the court is­sued the stays one day be­fore death row in­mate Clay­ton Lock­ett was sched­uled to be ex­e­cuted for the 1999 shoot­ing death of 19-year-old Stephanie Nie­man.

The sec­ond in­mate, Charles Warner, was con­victed in the 1997 death of his room­mate’s 11-month-old daugh­ter and was sched­uled to die on April 29.

The rul­ing halts the ex­e­cu­tions un­til the state Supreme Court can hold a hear­ing on the in­mates’ law­suit.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Scott Pruitt’s of­fice did not say whether it would ap­peal.

“The AG’s of­fice is try­ing to de­ter­mine the ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse to ad­dress these is­sues,’’ Pruitt said in an emailed state­ment.

A spokesman for the Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions, Jerry Massie, said the agency had not seen the or­der and was still pre­par­ing as if Lock­ett’s ex­e­cu­tion would be held on Tues­day.

The Supreme Court said it wanted to fast-track the case, but a hear­ing had not yet been sched­uled.

Ok­la­homa changed its pro­ce­dures on March 21 to al­low five dif­fer­ent po­ten­tial drug com­bi­na­tions for ex­e­cu­tions.

The state in­formed lawyers for the in­mates on April 1 that the men would be ex­e­cuted us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of mi­da­zo­lam, pan­curo­nium bro­mide and potas­sium chlo­ride never be­fore used in the state, but did not dis­close the source of the drugs.

Ex­e­cu­tions have been con­ducted us­ing the drug com­bi­na­tion in Florida with lower doses.

States that have the death penalty have been scram­bling for sub­sti­tute drugs or new sources for drugs af­ter ma­jor drug­mak­ers, many based in Europe with long­time op­po­si­tion to the death penalty, stopped sell­ing to pris­ons and cor­rec­tions de­part­ments.

“The Ok­la­homa Supreme Court will be able to fully ad­ju­di­cate the se­ri­ous con­sti­tu­tional is­sues about the ex­treme se­crecy sur­round­ing lethal in­jec­tion pro­ce­dures in our state,’’ lawyers Su­sanna Gat­toni and Seth Day said in a state­ment.

Lawyers for Lock­ett (L) and Warner (R) said that the in­mates chal­lenged the se­crecy sur­round­ing the drugs [AP]

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.