Executions will not resume in Oklahoma in 2017
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
Oklahoma will not execute anyone in 2017 and the death chamber will stay quiet until after the third anniversary of the last time the state carried out a death sentence.
The Oklahoma Attorney General promised the courts in 2015 that it would not seek a new execution until 150 days after new protocols for executions were adopted by the Department of Corrections following a grand jury investigation into botched execution and mismanagement of the capital punishment system.
A spokesperson told FOX 25 new procedures have not been adopted and the office has not been notified of any pending changes to execution procedures.
The grand jury report was issued in early 2016. The grand jury did not indict anyone, but issued a scathing report that detailed multiple failures on the part of the Department of Corrections to carry out lawful executions in Oklahoma. The report was also critical of some in the governor’s office who attempted to push the use of an unapproved drug to execute Richard Glossip in September of 2015.
After the state tried to use an improper drug, Oklahomans saw a flurry of resignations of those tied to the debacle. The warden of the state penitentiary in McAlester, the head of the Department of Corrections, and the governor’s general counsel all left their positions. All three were cited in the report for their mishandling of the death sentences.
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal appeals has received an update from the Attorney General every month since the indefinite stay was requested on October 2, 2015. Each month the Attorney General’s office indicates that new protocols have not been adopted and it is an “inappropriate” time to resume executions.
In the interim, a bipartisan panel studied Oklahoma’s death penalty and recommended the moratorium on capital punishment remain in place. Former Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry led the commission and announced that it was indisputable that Oklahoma had sentenced innocent people to die. The report also highlighted other concerns with sentencing disparities when it comes to who receives the death penalty.