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Constitutional Law

Judge strikes Oklahoma lethal injection law because source of drugs is secret

Posted Mar 26, 2014 1:10 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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An Oklahoma judge struck the state's lethal injection law as unconstitutional Wednesday, saying that it violated due process because it keeps secret from inmates the sources of drugs used in executions.

The ruling by Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish follows recent adverse reactions by dying inmates during executions in Ohio and Oklahoma. One gasped and the other said he felt his body burning.

The Associated Press, the Guardian and Reuters have stories.

At issue in the case before Parrish are the scheduled executions of Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner, which are both set for next month. The two convicted murderers contend that they have a right to know who manufactured the drugs that will be used to put them to death so they can investigate whether those drugs are pure.

The applicable Oklahoma law states: "The identity of all persons who participate in or administer the execution process and persons who supply the drugs, medical supplies or medical equipment for the execution shall be confidential and shall not be subject to discovery in any civil or criminal proceedings."

See also:

ABAJournal.com: "Oklahoma delays two executions due to lack of drugs needed for lethal injection"

ABAJournal.com: "Probe finds no evidence lawyer coached condemned inmate to fake suffocation during execution"

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