Oklahoma judge rules state execution law unconstitutional
A judge has struck down a state law that prevents the state from having to disclose information about the Oklahoma's lethal injections.
Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish ruled against the state saying the state's law is unconstitutional.
"We're very pleased," said Suzanna Gattoni, attorney for death row inmates Charles Warner and Clayton Lockett. "We know it will be appealed, but obviously we're hopeful that it will be confirmed on appeal before the Oklahoma Supreme Court."
Under Oklahoma law, no one may disclose the source of drugs used in executions -- even if an inmate sues and wants the information as part of the discovery process. Judge Parrish said that provision violates due process rights guaranteed in the Constitution.
"The citizens for the state deserve to know how it is that the state's executing people and that's simply all we asked of the court," said Gattoni.
The Attorney General's office was disappointed by the Judge's decision.
"We'll be looking forward, making our arguments on appeal and that's all we're going to say from the Attorney General's office," said First Assistant Attorney General Tom Bates.
The AG's office maintains that buyer information is withheld so pharmacies and other locations aren't retaliated against for providing drugs. Records obtained by the Colorado Independent reveal the secrecy. Money is taken out of a petty cash fund, but where it goes is listed as "unknown". What's also unknown is whether Wednesday's ruling will impact the executions of Lockett and Warner scheduled for next month.
Gattoni says Warner and Lockett could suffer severe pain if Oklahoma doesn't reveal which drugs it will use in their executions.
"I think the state will not be allowed to proceed with the execution until this unconstitutional ruling is dealt with by the appeals court," said FOX25 Legal Analyst David Slane.
The Department of Corrections released this statement "We will confer with the Attorney General's Office once we receive written order to determine our legal course of action. We will not speculate on any legal ramifications of this ruling."
Lockett is to be put to death for the 1999 shooting death of a 19-year-old Perry woman. Warner faces execution for the 1997 death of his girlfriend's 11-month-old daughter.
Lockett is scheduled to die April 22. Warner's execution is April 29.
A separate court is considering stay requests from the men.