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JAS: Court-Tampering Plays Role in Botched Oklahoma Execution

April 30, 2014

 JAS: Court-Tampering Plays Role in Botched Oklahoma Execution

Contact: Laurie Kinney, lkinney@justiceatstake.org(202) 588-9454; cell (571) 882-3615

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 30  - In response to the botched execution of an Oklahoma inmate last night, following the governor’s announcement that she would disregard a stay of execution  put in place by the state Supreme Court, and her own decision to impose and then revoke a stay, Justice at Stake Executive Director Bert Brandenburg had the following statement: 

“The governmental trainwreck in Oklahoma, where a court-ordered stay of execution was overturned amid pressure to impeach the justices, resulted in a disgraceful outcome last night. Political tampering with the courts led to a state torturing one of its prisoners to death.  Our courts were created to protect rights and force deliberation, and this rush to execution reinforces how important it is for us to be vigilant about protecting courts’  authority.”  

Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett died of a heart attack after a failed attempt to administer a series of lethal injections, in which the inmate reportedly struggled and remained conscious for more than half an hour.  The stay of execution had been ordered to allow a due process opportunity for a determination of whether the  drug “cocktail” to be used would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.    


Justice at Stake is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to keep America's courts fair and impartial. Justice at Stake and its 50-plus state and national partners educate the public, and work for reforms to keep politics and special interests out of the courtroom - so judges can protect our Constitution, our rights and the rule of law. For more about Justice at Stake, go to www.justiceatstake.org or www.gavelgrab.org.


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