death penalty

The Delaware Supreme Court has decided that the state's death penalty law violates the Sixth Amendment.

The court was responding to a U.S. Supreme Court decision from a case in January — Hurst v. Florida — that found that Florida's death penalty law violated the Constitution because it gave judges — not juries — ultimate power to impose the death penalty.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the budget given to lawmakers in the eleventh hour by the Governor and legislative leaders, a bill to counter the Obama Administrations guidelines over transgender students and bathrooms gets killed in a committee and Oklahoma joins 10 other states in filing a lawsuit over the guidelines.

Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Oklahoma’s top officials say they’re taking time to thoroughly read a scathing 106-page report released Thursday criticizing Oklahoma’s execution protocols.

Gov. Mary Fallin and Department of Corrections Interim Director Joe Allbaugh both released statements acknowledging the 12-member panel of the multicounty grand jury and the process of reviewing capital punishment procedures.

“It is imperative that Oklahoma be able to manage the execution process properly,” Fallin said in a statement Thursday.

OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

A multicounty grand jury released findings regarding Oklahoma’s execution procedures Thursday.

After Oklahoma bungled its last two lethal injections and had a third called off amid a drug mix-up, executions have grinded to a halt in a state that typically has one of the busiest death chambers in the country.

Former Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry, who oversaw dozens of executions during his two terms in office, is helping to lead a prominent group of Oklahomans in a comprehensive review over the next year on the state's use of the death penalty.

Joining the former Democratic governor as co-chairs of the Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission are retired Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Reta Strubhar and former U.S. Magistrate Judge Andy Lester.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Despite Oklahoma's bungling of its last three scheduled executions, the state's top law enforcement officer said justice demands that lethal injections resume once his office's probe into the last two drug mix-ups are complete.

Republican Attorney General Scott Pruitt said a grand jury directed by his office is nearing completion of a months-long, closed-door investigation into how the wrong drug was used to execute an inmate in January 2015 and then delivered again to death row for a scheduled lethal injection in September that was halted just before the inmate was to die.

"The commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' has absolute value and concerns both the innocent and the guilty," Pope Francis said Sunday, urging that the death penalty be abolished.

Cary Michael Lambrix, convicted of the 1983 killings of two people, was scheduled to die by lethal injection in Florida on Feb. 11.

But on Jan. 12, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the state's process for imposing the death penalty, and now the state Supreme Court has delayed Lambrix's execution until the courts can determine how to apply the high court's ruling.

Florida's highest court on Tuesday will hear a case that may determine the fate of some 390 people on the state's death row. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Florida's system for imposing the death penalty is unconstitutional.

Florida has an execution set for next week. The state's highest court now must decide whether it can go forward.

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