An emergency stay of execution requested by two Oklahoma death row inmates has been denied. Both men are scheduled for execution this month.
Clayton Derrell Lockett, 38, and Charles Frederick Warner, 46, filed a lawsuit against the state Corrections Department in January challenging the constitutionality of the state’s ability to keep secret the source of its lethal injection drugs.
Last month, Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish found the state’s secrecy unconstitutional, but the state has yet to reveal its drug source pending an appeal to Parrish’s ruling.
The state Court of Criminal Appeals delayed Lockett’s and Warner’s executions one month, until April 22 and April 29, respectively, after the state admitted it did not have the drugs necessary to carry out the lethal injections.
Wednesday, the appeals court ruled that since the judge has ruled in their case and the men are not contesting their guilt, their request for a stay should be denied and their executions should remain on schedule.
Oklahoma has since changed execution protocol, adding new drugs to the list of lethal cocktails, and acquired the ingredients for a new mixture — midazolam, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride.
Until the state files its appeal to Parrish’s ruling and a decision is made on that appeal, the state does not have to reveal the source of its drugs. Lawyers for the inmates worry the state will not make a move until after Lockett and Warner are executed.
“It is vitally important that the state offer full disclosure prior to any execution taking place in order to avoid another problematic execution in Oklahoma,” defense lawyers Susanna Gattoni and Seth Day said in an emailed statement.
The attorney general’s office did not respond to questions Wednesday about if or when they will file, but have said they do plan to appeal the ruling. In an emailed news release, attorney general spokeswoman Diane Clay said their office will keep working to see the executions proceed as scheduled.
Madeline Cohen, Warner’s federal public defender, said they will ask the state Supreme Court for a stay of execution. However, that court decided in February the Court of Criminal Appeals had jurisdiction to decide on stay requests.