• ACLU criticizes new Oklahoma execution protocols

    By: Lynn Casey


    TULSA, Okla. - The American Civil Liberties Union had strong words for the State Department of Corrections Thursday after the DOC released new protocols for executions this week.
    ACLU representatives said the new protocols are not only not good enough, but they said they make the secrecy of the execution process even worse.
    “This is real slap in the face to Oklahomans,” said ACLU of Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel.
    The new execution protocols included recommendations the state made after it investigated Clayton Lockett’s execution.
    Some of the new protocols aim to avoid technical mistakes like the ones that happened in that execution. For example, execution team members will have more training and there will be contingency plans if the execution goes wrong.
    However, organizations like the ACLU called for more transparency, too, and that is not in the new protocols.
    “It says the people do not have a right to know how the government is exercising its greatest authority,” Kiesel said.
    The DOC will not grant more access to information about the drugs being used prior to an execution. It also cuts in half the number of media witnesses allowed. The ACLU is arguing in federal court that the media has a right to witness, for the people, how executions are carried out.
    “The state of Oklahoma responded to that, and said that there’s absolutely no utility in having the media there or having public information and accountability. We just think that that’s ridiculous,” Kiesel said.
    The ACLU said these protocols aren’t good enough and they say it’s because there’s no way the state can objectively investigate itself.
    “The state has refused calls for an independent and objective investigation into what went wrong and what we have now are protocols that resulted from an inside job,” Kiesel said.
    A federal court has raised concerns that the DOC won’t have new protocols in place in time for executions to start again this fall. State officials said they will be ready.

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