death penalty

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.

The death penalty is in decline no matter the measure, a new study released by the Death Penalty Information Center has found.

The report found that 28 people were executed this year, the lowest since 1991. The number of death sentences dropped by 33 percent.

Only six states executed convicts during the year, and Texas, Missouri and Georgia accounted for 86 percent of the executions.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

America's death penalty is under scrutiny after a series of botched executions, drug mix-ups and difficulty acquiring lethal injection drugs. Just last month, President Obama called certain parts of capital punishment "deeply troubling."

Some say long waits and repeated last-minute delays are tantamount to torture.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about state agencies coming up with ways to cut 10% of their budget as ordered by Governor Fallin an Oklahomans on the Affordable Care Act seeing premium increase well above the national average at 37%.

The trio also new polling that shows support among Oklahomans for Presidential candidate Ben Carson and strong support for the death penalty.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Updated at 1:57 p.m. ET.

Corrections officials in Oklahoma used the wrong drug to execute Charles Warner back in January.

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