death penalty

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and former House Speaker Steve Lewis about a 300-page bipartisan review of Oklahoma's death penalty process and a task force to look into untested rape kits in the state.

The trio also discusses the current state of the legislature with just four weeks left in the session and the increase in the number of people officially running for statewide office in 2018.

Claire Donnelly / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

A bipartisan group of Oklahomans is urging the state to keep its temporary ban on the death penalty.

The independent group, the Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission, spent more than a year reviewing the state’s death penalty process, from the initial arrest and questioning of a suspect through the execution.

Updated 10 a.m. ET Tuesday

Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request by Arkansas to lift a stay that would have allowed officials to conduct the state's first execution in nearly a dozen years.

But while Monday's two scheduled executions were blocked, a path has been cleared for the state to carry out other killings scheduled this month; the next two are set for Thursday night.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Amnesty International says there were fewer executions worldwide last year than the year before — but the number of death sentences handed down is the highest it has ever recorded.

In its annual report, Amnesty estimates that China carried out more executions than all the other countries put together. The human rights group says China put thousands of people to death. The exact figure is classified as a state secret and is not included in Amnesty's worldwide total.

Arkansas Plans Rapid Execution Schedule

Apr 1, 2017

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Faced with an expiring supply of a controversial sedative, the state of Arkansas plans to execute eight men over 11 days — a pace that is unprecedented in recent U.S. history and that has been criticized by lawyers and former corrections officials.

The state is set to carry out the executions two a day on four days between April 17 and April 27. Multiple lawsuits have been filed over the schedule, citing concerns about the speed. Arkansas' governor and attorney general say the deaths will bring closure to victims' families.

A federal judge in Ohio has rejected the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol on the grounds that one of the drugs, the sedative midazolam, is not sufficiently humane in its effects.

The drug has been used during multiple botched executions in Arizona, Ohio, Oklahoma and Alabama, as The Two-Way has reported.

In 2016, 30 people were sentenced to death in America, and 20 people were executed.

Those numbers are the lowest in decades, according to a report by the Death Penalty Information Center, which collects data on capital punishment in the United States, and advocates against the death penalty.

The 2016 numbers fit with a multi-decade trend. Death sentences and executions have been declining steadily since the mid-1990s.

The number of men and women currently waiting on Florida's death row is 384. Nearly all of them live just outside a town called Raiford, Fla.

But those men and women — the second largest death row population in the country — remain in limbo nearly a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that death penalties require a unanimous jury verdict. What's in question is how that ruling will apply to existing convictions.

Pages