Wednesday, April 30, 2014

One Botched Execution in Oklahoma Last Night Brings Up the Question: Why was Governor Fallin Adament on Executing Two Men Last Night Risking a Constitutional Crisis?

Oklahoma court lifts stay of executions, heading off confrontation with governor.  Republican governor Mary Fallin had tried to defy supreme court by making executive order to go ahead with lethal injections (LA Times)
After the botched execution of the first inmate last night -- there were to be two but a stay was given for the second one, I can truthfully say I oppose the death penalty except in rare instances like Terry McVeigh who bombed the Federal Building and then mocked the survivors.  Even then his co-conspirator Terry Nichols is serving a life sentence.  When I found out that there is a percentage of people on death row who were wrongly convicted, then it led me to believe that these executions have to stop.  This was inhumane anyway you view it and am tired of he got what was coming to him.  How does killing someone in the name of revenge for what they did make it right.  Especially from people who declare themselves to be these big Christians I have seen in the comment sections of websites on this.
This went viral around the world and is my hope that it ends the cruel punishment of executing (killing) people who did commit heinous crimes.  Why not let the people live with what they have done by keeping them in prison with no chance of parole?  
Some of us were telling people on Twitter that Governor Fallin had almost caused constitutional crisis with her determination to kill two prisoners in one night with a drug concoction that is still secret where it comes from.  The two convicts asked for a stay to find out more details on the drugs that Oklahoma and other states are keeping secret.
Something about Gov Fallin ordering an investigation into what happens rings very hollow and Christie like.  IMHO Fallin and independent investigation do not belong in the same sentence.  Found out from someone in MO they want to buy the drugs from OK and keep secret where it came from and how it is being used.  What's wrong with these people?  What happened last night in OK was inhuman IMHO.  Death Penalty needs to get the death penalty IMHO!  Noticed that the hard right so-called Christians were gleeful at what happened and that we were putting people to death.  Something about being Christian and lovers of the death penalty don't go together.

Here is the background from last week that went viral around the Country and the world making Oklahoma look like a backwoods State but then after what the Governor has been up to it is probably appropriate.  After last night, it is definitely appropriate.  She has become very dictatorial now vetoing bills to make the OK House do what she demands.  This is what almost led to a Constitutional crisis in Oklahoma because of Fallin and AG Pruitt thinking they are above the Constitution.  Best report of what happened came from the London Guardian -- my bold and red emphasis:
Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin steps into a legal tussle over executions  
Katie Fretland in Tulsa, Oklahoma  
Wednesday 23 April 2014 21.48 EDT
The Oklahoma supreme court has dissolved its stay of the executions of two men who challenged the state's secrecy about its source of lethal injection drugs. The court reversed the decision of a district court judge who said the law that keeps the source secret is unconstitutional. 
The turnaround heads off a potential constitutional crisis sparked by the state's Republican governor, Mary Fallin, who had tried to override the stay by issuing an executive order to go ahead with the sentences. 
A day after the Oklahoma supreme court originally issued a stay of execution for the two convicted killers, the governor issued her own order on Tuesday that the state would carry out the sentences next week, but legal experts said she had no power to do so. 
The court's reversal on Wednesday came hours after a resolution by an Oklahoma House member to try to impeach some of its justices. 
In removing the stay, the court said the inmates had failed to demonstrate "actual injury" and that "the right of access to the courts does not include the right to discover a cause of action" to litigate.

Fallin had said the state supreme court acted “outside the constitutional authority” of its mandate in staying Clayton Lockett's execution. She granted a stay of seven days for Lockett, rescheduling his execution for 29 April, the same day condemned inmate Charles Warner is scheduled to be executed. But legal experts said the supreme court's stays had to be followed and the governor lacked the power to reset the date. 
"Governor Fallin is a politician and not a lawyer," said Randall Coyne, a constitutional law expert at the University of Oklahoma. "According to well-established precedent of the US supreme court, the courts – not executive officials – have the final word on what is constitutional. She of course has the right to disagree with judicial decisions but they remain the law. The governor is dangerously close to precipitating a constitutional crisis." 
The day before Lockett’s planned execution, the Oklahoma supreme court on Monday indefinitely delayed his and Warner's executions while they challenged the constitutionality of a law that keeps secret the source of the state’s execution drugs. The state's highest court stepped in after two weeks of legal tussles in which it and the court of criminal appeals both said they did not have the authority to grant a stay. 
On Tuesday the office of the attorney general, Scott Pruitt, asked the state supreme court to rehear the case, arguing the court had caused chaos for the bifurcated appeals system of the state. The supreme court denied that petition 6 to 3 on Tuesday, essentially rejecting Pruitt’s questioning of the court’s jurisdiction. 
Fallin then stepped in with an executive order, telling Pruitt’s office to file papers with the Oklahoma court of criminal appeals that would give her a blueprint as to how to implement the execution order.  
Eric M Freedman, a constitutional law expert at Hofstra University, said Fallin's order was "pure political posturing"
“The probability that the state will succeed in carrying out the executions in defiance of the stays entered by the Oklahoma supreme court hovers between zilch and zero," he said. 
Lockett and Warner challenged the constitutionality of an Oklahoma law that keeps the source of execution drugs secret. An Oklahoma county district court judge ruled in their favor in March, and judge Patricia Parrish said the statute violated their right to due process. Lawyers for Lockett and Warner say it would be "unthinkable" to carry out the executions while that challenge was unresolved. 
Oklahoma attorney Stephen Jones, a Republican who served as counsel to Republican governors, said Tuesday's developments were about politics and Fallin has made a power grab of the state judiciary. "It gives them something to campaign upon," Jones said. 
He said executing the men despite the court's stay would create a "nasty confrontation" that the governor and attorney general would legally lose. 
“She should have stayed out of it and let the courts work it out. She doesn’t really have a dog in the fight. Frankly I think it’s a sign of weakness on the part of the attorney general that he got the governor to do that. Scott Pruitt has not practiced much as a lawyer," Jones said. 
Brady R Henderson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, said the governor could delay an execution but resetting the execution date was unlikely to hold up legally. "The Oklahoma constitution simply does not give her the power to do that," Henderson said. 
"It is important to remember that the entire matter comes from a relatively simple request from two condemned men to find out about the drugs that would be used to kill them," he said. 
"There are serious concerns about the conduct of the lethal injection process, and an Oklahoma law attempts to bar the inmates and everybody else from finding out important information about the process. In other words, it puts a veil of secrecy over one of the most grave functions of state government – killing its own citizens." 
Seth Day, an attorney for the two men, said the secrecy surrounding the executions "undermines our courts and democracy". 
"It is unacceptable that Oklahomans have no way of knowing that the scheduled upcoming executions of Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner would be carried out in a constitutional and humane manner," Day said. "It's not even known whether the lethal injection drugs to be used were obtained legally, and nothing is known about their source, purity, or efficacy, among other questions."
As a citizen of Oklahoma, I do not understand why the drug sources and how the quanity was determined are kept secret because no one knows where they were obtained.  It is obvious after the botched execution that the secrecy should be ended if it takes the federal courts.  I am tired of this Governor's office and the Attorney General continually thinking they are above the law and playing politics in this state.  The AG continually suing to overturn the Affordable Care Act plus siding with a for profit business Hobby Lobby before the Supreme Court is over the top.  Pruitt is the worst type of Attorney General because he is a grandstander and now to learn from a Republican lawyer who has advised Republican Governors that Pruit has practiced very little law makes me question why he ran for Attorney General to begin with.  Wish I had NEVER supported or VOTED for him.  You can say the same about Fallin and Janet Barrisi the State School Superintendent.  My eyes are wide open now to the hard right Republican Party in Oklahoma and my answer to them is "JUST SAY NO!"

In case you missed it this is what happened with the execution last night which was botched (understatement) -- Los Angeles Times had the best coverage using AP and Tulsa World sources:
Oklahoma Halts Double Execution After One is Botched
Matt Pearce, Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Paresh Dave
April 29, 2014, 10:30 p.m. 
A controversial double execution in Oklahoma was scrubbed Tuesday night after the first inmate to receive an experimental three-drug cocktail writhed and grimaced on the gurney, struggled to lift his head and died of a heart attack more than 40 minutes later, officials and witnesses said. 
Clayton Lockett's bizarre death came after a constitutional showdown in Oklahoma over state execution secrecy laws. It is likely to provoke strong criticism from death penalty critics at a time when similar policies for lethal injections have come under fire across the nation. 
The botched execution will have a huge effect, Deborah W. Denno, a professor at Fordham Law School and a death penalty expert, told the Los Angeles Times. "The entire world was watching this execution." 
According to reporters at the scene, Lockett, 38, received the first dose of the three-drug cocktail at 6:23 p.m. 
The drugs were midazolam, which causes unconsciousness; vecuronium bromide, which stops respiration; and potassium chloride, which stops the heart. They are administered in that order. The state has said the procedure is meant to involve three doctors with hand-held syringes, injecting the drugs into IV lines in both the inmate's arms. 
At 6:33 p.m., 10 minutes after the execution began, a doctor said Lockett was unconscious. But three minutes later, Lockett began to nod and mumble and writhe, witnesses said. 
A spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, citing comments by the department’s director, Robert Patton, confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that Lockett did not die immediately after the lethal injection was administered. 
“The director did say that it appears that a vein [in Lockett's body] blew up or exploded, it collapsed, and the drugs were not getting into the system like they were supposed to,” spokesman Jerry Massie said. 
Massie said that after the new injection was administered, the condemned man “was obviously showing some movement.” 
“After several minutes, five minutes, he was not unconscious,” Massie said. “They made a decision to halt the execution, but at 7:06 he suffered a massive heart attack and expired.”
Massie said the inmate had a physician attending to him, a doctor who does not work for the department. Massie could not say whether that physician had ordered the inmate to be taken to a hospital. 
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin had strongly pushed for Tuesday night's double execution. She issued a statement acknowledging the botched death and ordered a two-week delay in the execution of Charles F. Warner, who was to die after Lockett on Tuesday night. 
Click Link to Read More at the LA Times
Latest from LA Times today on this atrocity,  I am using the Times as a source because they are not tainted by local Oklahoma politics.  Frankly having a member of the Oklahoma State Government do the investigation screams cover-up before they even start as the Fallin Administration has the transparency of a gnat:
Molly Hennessy-Fiske
April 30, 2014, 12:57 p.m.
Reporting from Oklahoma City— 
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin promised an independent review of the state’s execution protocols Wednesday after a bungled execution raised questions about the state's handling of capital punishment. 
The Republican governor emphasized, however, that she has faith that state officials were legally correct in proceeding with the execution over the objections of defense lawyers. 
“I believe the legal process worked,” Fallin said, “I believe the death penalty is an appropriate response and punishment for those who commit heinous crimes.” 
Witnesses have said that convicted murderer Clayton Lockett began writhing and mumbling after prison officials administered the lethal injection Tuesday and also was twitching on the gurney. Officials said Lockett subsequently died of a heart attack 
Fallin defied the state Supreme Court’s order for a delay. A legislator sought to impeach the justices. But the unusual double execution was eventually cleared to proceed. 
Oklahoma is one of several states that have grappled with shortages of lethal injection drugs. 
Drug companies, fearful of protests, have refused to supply some of the drugs. Some states have responded by switching drugs, then declining to release information about the new drugs and who had supplied them, citing concern for the welfare of suppliers. 
Oklahoma officials have defended the drugs they use. 
After Fallin spoke, Oklahoma state lawmakers outraged by the execution called a briefing at the Capitol with local NAACP and ACLU leaders. They planned to discuss a proposed joint resolution that would call for a year-long moratorium on executions. A defense attorney was also expected to address the possibility of bringing a lawsuit against the state concerning its lethal injection methods and the drugs used.
Click Link to Read More at the LA Times 
If you live in in Oklahoma and vote, you may want to think twice before casting any votes for Governor Fallin or Attorney General Pruitt.  Will have more on Fallin's latest in vetoing bills to make the Oklahoma House do her bidding this week.

My support and my vote is going to Rep Joe Dorman (D) who speaks for all Oklahomans not just the wealthy donors of the GOP.

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