death penalty

Changes are coming for the way Oklahoma conducts death sentences of prisoners following a report on the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in April.

KOSU’s Michael Cross reports.


A misplaced intravenous line was responsible for the botched execution of an Oklahoma inmate last April, an official report released on Thursday found.

Clayton D. Lockett suffered a prolonged execution because the IV line inserted into his groin area delivered the fatal dosage of drugs to the surrounding tissue rather than directly into the bloodstream.

The New York Times reports:

AP

A report on a problematic execution in Oklahoma shows lethal drugs caused the inmate to die, not a heart attack, after the state's prisons chief halted efforts to kill him.

Prisons Director Robert Patton had said inmate Clayton Lockett died from a heart attack several minutes after he ordered the execution stopped. In a report released Thursday, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety said all three execution drugs were found throughout Lockett's system. A medical examiner declared that the cause of death was "judicial execution by lethal injection."

Another problematic prison execution is further fueling debate over the death penalty in the U.S.

At a state prison in Florence, Ariz. yesterday, it took almost two hours for convicted double murderer Joseph Wood to die after he was injected with a combination of sedative and painkiller. This problematic execution follows the one in Oklahoma that went awry in April.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here's a little-noticed fact about the death penalty. We've heard a big debate about how to execute people - lethal injection, electric chair, firing squad. That debate obscures a little-noticed fact - the number of people executed by any method is way down in the United States in recent years. NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson has been covering this story. She's in our studios. Hi, Carrie.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

INSKEEP: How far down?

The 2014 Oklahoma legislative session officially ended last month, but as The Journal Record’s Marie Price explains, there’s still work to be done and issues to study.

You can find more of Marie’s insights on the capitol at JRLR.net.

Death row inmates in two states are taking legal action to stop states from using the kind of multi-drug protocol that resulted in botched executions in Oklahoma and Ohio.

The inmates are not challenging their convictions or death sentences, only the way in which the sentences are to be carried out, notes the Guardian.

Update at 4:57 p.m. ET. Federal Court Halts Execution:

With just hours to go, a federal court has halted the execution of Texas inmate Robert Campbell.

The execution would have been the first since Oklahoma botched one in April.

The ruling has nothing to do with the drug shortage that's dominated the narrative over the death penalty in the country. Instead, Campbell's lawyers argued that the state knew that Campbell was intellectually disabled but did not let his defense team know that.

Picasso's Cafe / Facebook

Join us on Wednesday, May 28 at 6pm for this month's On Tap at Picasso Cafe in Oklahoma City.

Our topic this month is the death penalty and our panelists will be Oklahoma County Asst. DA Scott Rowland and University of Oklahoma law professor Rick Tepker.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Friday, it's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

The state of Oklahoma now has at least six more months to get to know Charles Warner. He's a man who was scheduled to die, is sentenced for a brutal crime. But the state attorney general agreed to a stay of execution. That gives the state time to investigate the way it puts people to death. The investigation follows the execution of Clayton Lockett, a proceeding that took 43 minutes and intensified debate over the death penalty.

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