ACLU Seeks Moratorium After Oklahoma Execution Goes Awry


Wednesday, April 30th 2014, 10:18 am
By: News On 6


The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma has called for an immediate moratorium on executions in the state after an inmate died of a massive heart attack 43 minutes after his execution began.

The state of Oklahoma was using a new drug protocol for the first time in Tuesday night's execution of Clayton Lockett. Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton stopped the execution after about 20 minutes, and Lockett later died of a heart attack.

4/30/2014 Related Story: Oklahoma Inmate Execution Halted, Dies From Heart Attack

The ACLU of Oklahoma, which was not a party in a legal challenge over Oklahoma's law that keeps the source of execution drugs confidential, called for a "full and open" investigation into Tuesday's execution.

"We hope that courts will reconsider whether transparency about the drugs used in executions is required as a matter of law. After tonight, there's no speculation needed to appreciate that there are fundamental failures in our execution process," said ACLU of Oklahoma Legal Director Brady Henderson.

"It is important to remember that the State of Oklahoma continues to deny relatively simple requests from condemned men to find out about the drugs that will be used to kill them. There are serious concerns about the lethal injection process in light of more and more botched executions conducted with questionable drugs from questionable sources, and an Oklahoma law now bars inmates (and everybody else) from finding out important information needed to ensure compliance with the Constitution. In other words, it puts a veil of secrecy over one of the most grave functions of state government--killing its own citizens. If we are to have executions at all, they must not be conducted like hastily thrown together human science experiments."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.