Oklahoma court lifts stay of executions, heading off confrontation with governor
By Katie Fretland
April 23, 2014
The day before [Clayton] Lockett’s planned execution, the Oklahoma supreme court on Monday indefinitely delayed his and [Charles] 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.