Oklahoma Could Halt Executions For Supreme Court Drug Review


Monday, January 26th 2015, 12:08 pm
By: News On 6


Oklahoma is willing to put three executions on hold while the U.S. Supreme Court reviews whether a certain sedative can render death row inmates sufficiently unconscious.

Rather than stop the executions itself, Oklahoma took the unusual step Monday of asking justices for a stay. Oklahoma wants the right to resume executions if it finds a different suitable drug.

“In light of the Supreme Court's grant of appellants' petition for writ of certiorari, the State requests that the executions of Glossip, Grant and Cole be stayed until final disposition in Oklahoma's favor of the appeal in No. 14-7955,Glossip v. Gross; or, alternatively, until ODOC has in its possession a viable alternative to midazolam for use in its executions.”

“It is important that we act in order to best serve the interests of the victims of these horrific crimes and the State's obligation to ensure justice in each and every case.” Attorney General Pruitt said. “The families of the victims in these three cases have waited a combined 48 years for the sentences of these heinous crimes to be carried out. Two federal courts have previously held the current protocol as constitutional, and we believe the United States Supreme Court will find the same. We thus support stays until a decision in the State's favor is final or until viable alternative drugs can be obtained.”


Four inmates sued Oklahoma, saying they fear the sedative midazolam cannot prevent their suffering as lethal drugs take effect. One of the four was executed this month and showed no signs of physical distress. Charles Warner implied discomfort during his final statement but before any lethal drugs were administered.

Last year, Clayton Lockett struggled against his restraints during his execution.

Another execution is set for Thursday. Two others follow by March 5.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.