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.
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.
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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.
Although most of the country just became aware of issues with Oklahoma's capital punishment protocols last week after Clayton Lockett's bungled execution, his lawyers had been worried for months. That's because in January, two condemned men in different states but injected with the same new drug cocktail endured executions that went badly. Lockett's lawyer, Susanna Gattoni, was unable to keep him from suffering a similar fate last week.
The doctor who came up with the method talks about his legacy in Oklahoma and the U.S. Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014 12:00 am | (%remaining%) Remaining Thanks for visiting the Tulsa World. You're entitled to view a limited number of free articles every 30 days.
In 1977, death row inmate Gary Mark Gilmore chose to be executed by a firing squad. Gilmore was strapped to a chair at the Utah State Prison, and five officers shot him.
The media circus that ensued prompted a group of lawmakers in nearby Oklahoma to wonder if there might be a better way to handle executions. They approached Dr. Jay Chapman, the state medical examiner at the time, who proposed using three drugs, based loosely on anesthesia procedures at the time: one drug to knock out the inmates, one to relax or paralyze them, and a final drug that would stop their hearts.
A Botched Execution And The Death Penalty Now The botched execution in Oklahoma. The President calls it 'deeply troubling.' The UN says a possible violation of international law. Guests Devlin Barrett , Justice Department reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@DevlinBarrett) Peter Neufeld , co-director of the Innocence Project.
Oklahoma's botched execution of Clayton Lockett is prompting other states to question their use of the drug midazolam in lethal injections. The Lockett execution is fueling new calls to re-examine how states put inmates to death.