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Oklahoma State Questions

Here is a summary of the State Questions on the Oklahoma ballot and my brief take on each.


This measure adds a new section to the Oklahoma Constitution, Section 9A of Article 2. The new Section deals with the death penalty. The Section establishes State constitutional mandates relating to the death penalty and methods of execution. Under these constitutional requirements:

The Legislature is expressly empowered to designate any method of execution not prohibited by the United States Constitution. Death sentences shall not be reduced because a method of execution is ruled to be invalid. When an execution method is declared invalid, the death penalty imposed shall remain in force until it can be carried out using any valid execution method, and The imposition of a death penalty under Oklahoma law —as distinguished from a method of execution—shall not be deemed to be or constitute the infliction of cruel or unusual punishment […] → Keep reading

Left Not Blameless for ‘Botched’ Oklahoma Execution

There’s nothing like an execution to stoke the animosity in people. Those opposed to the death penalty spew their reasons why it should be abolished and those supporting it typically step down into the gutter with the opposition and argue why it should be continued. The ‘botched’ execution in Oklahoma last night has certainly set off a firestorm of opinions on both sides. Naturally, what happened to the murderer being executed is being pounced on by death penalty opponents as a reason why executions are cruel. Some are saying it is a violation of the Eighth Amendment restriction against cruel and unusual punishments. While that would possibly be a valid argument if what happened to Clayton Lockett was, in fact, the sentence as ordered by a court and intended to happen, it was not ordered or intended. To be fair, let’s look at what is being reported as happening.

News OK – The execution, which was supposed to start at […] → Keep reading

Oklahoma Execution Law Declared Unconstitutional

In a surprise ruling, at least to me, an Oklahoma County judge has declared Oklahoma’s execution law to be unconstitutional. The ruling said the secrecy law preventing anyone from knowing the source of the drugs used for lethal injections prevented condemned prisoners from having access to the courts. Under Oklahoma law, no one is allowed to disclose the source of the drugs used, even if an inmate sues and wants the information. Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish said that provision violates due process rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

Oklahoma Assistant Attorney General Seth Branham told the judge during the proceedings that the inmates hadn’t proven they were at risk and that there was nothing they could do to stop their execution from being carried out even if they had the information about the drugs.

The ruling comes from a lawsuit by inmates Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner, who sued the state last month. Lockett is scheduled to be […] → Keep reading