Tomorrow, Oklahoma is set to perform its first double execution in nearly 80 years. Charles Warner and Clayton Lockett are scheduled to be executed despite an extended, unresolved legal and political tussle around the constitutionality of the state’s lethal injection procedure.
This case has changed rapidly over the past week, so in case you’re behind, here’s a quick refresher on the chaos in Oklahoma:
- Oklahoma Courts originally issued stays of execution for the condemned prisoners, overriding the State’s position that it could keep the drugs and their source a secret from the prisoners and the public.
- Lawmakers in Oklahoma responded by seeking to impeach five members of the State Supreme Court.
- Governor Fallin issued an Executive Order to override the Supreme Court ruling.
- Fallin’s actions became moot when the Court reversed itself and lifted the stay.
- The effort to impeach the Oklahoma Justices continues.
What we see here is an attachment to the death penalty that has moved to the extreme. Basic principles of good government including government transparency and public accountability, let alone the Constitution, have been trampled under foot. These desperate attempts to cling to the death penalty, in the face of mounting evidence that it does not work and is unworkable, are unseemly. Oklahoma’s actions undermine the integrity of and respect for the rule of law.
Oklahoma stands out even among a minority of states pursuing executions, despite a nationwide decline in the practice. The drug shortage that it and other executing states have experienced is the result of an increasing hard line being taken by the international community who view capital punishment as a gross human rights violation.
It is long past time for this to end. Ironically, these desperate and disturbing attempts to maintain the death penalty in Oklahoma may well be its undoing. As more people confront the ugly reality of this practice, more will be moved to stand up and get involved. 90 million Americans believe that the death penalty is wrong, unfair and must end. They’re energized, they’re engaged, and they’re ready to put an end to the death penalty, sooner rather than later.
Are you one of the 90 million strong who believes the death penalty is wrong? Join us. Share your story today at NCADP.tumblr.com