“A Climate of Secrecy And Political Posturing.” Madeline Cohen’s Statement on Executions in OK

Tonight, Oklahoma is scheduled to execute two inmates: Charles Warner and Clayton Lockett. As the world continues to watch this case unfold in Oklahoma, Madeline Cohen, an attorney for Charles Warner, has released this statement:

“Tonight, in a climate of secrecy and political posturing, Oklahoma intends to kill two death row prisoners using an experimental new drug protocol, including a paralytic, making it impossible to know whether the executions will comport with the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual suffering. Because the issue of secrecy in lethal injection has not been substantively addressed by the courts, Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner will be executed without basic information about the experimental combination of drugs used in their deaths. Despite repeated requests by counsel, the state has refused, again, and again, to provide information about the source, purity, testing and efficacy of the drugs to be used. It’s not even known whether the drugs were purchased legally.

‘In addition to the secrecy surrounding these executions, intense and inappropriate political pressure on Oklahoma’s judiciary from the Oklahoma Governor and Legislature has put a permanent stain on this entire process. Following an unconscionable 48-hour period of political intimidation, including the Governor attempting to override the Court’s stay of execution, and the introduction in the Oklahoma House of Representatives of articles of impeachment against the Justices who voted for the stay, the state’s highest court rescinded the stays. In a more appropriate political climate, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court could have taken a thorough look at this secrecy and ensured that all laws were carefully followed. Instead, we will never know.”

— Madeline Cohen, attorney for Charles Warner | April 29, 2014

Source: National Coalition to End the Death Penalty