• Oklahoma Attorney General announces new execution method for state


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    Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh held a news conference on Wednesday announcing a change to the state's death penalty process. 

    Oklahoma will be the first state to use nitrogen gas as an execution method. The change comes after issues locating the drugs used for the lethal injection process. 

    According to the state law, if lethal injection is held unconstitutional or is unavailable, an execution shall be carried out by nitrogen hypoxia.

    Hunter said this method is the best way for the state to move forward with executions. 

    FOX23 reached out to area district attorneys about possible cases this could impact. 

    • Wagoner County: No cases with death penalty filed 
    • Rogers County: One case that seeks the death penalty 

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma released the following statement:

    “Today’s announcement that Oklahoma is oiling up the gears in its death machine is deeply troubling. In the time since a moratorium was placed on executions, the State has done absolutely nothing to inspire confidence that they are now be able to successfully exercise the ultimate power of any government. Instead, in this time Oklahoma’s leaders have demonstrated new levels of incompetence. Now these same politicians are drafting plans to kill human beings with methods that are unproven and untested among enlightened societies.

    To compound this error further, this announcement is silent on the 46 recommendations made by the bipartisan Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission. The conclusions drawn by this commission paint a picture of a system that fails at multiple points to provide the necessary safeguards in a system that ends with our government, in our name, killing an individual. Even if one sets aside the question of whether the death penalty is an appropriate power for any government, every Oklahoman should seriously consider whether they trust this current government with this power.

    The Attorney General and his supporters don’t want you to ask that question. Instead, they want Oklahomans to focus on which side of death penalty debate they land. Knowing that a majority of Oklahomans will say they can think of a situation in which the death penalty is an appropriate punishment, they are counting those Oklahomans to stop their critical thinking at that point and not consider the abysmal record of the political leaders who plan to experiment new methods of killing on people who may or may not be guilty. The question Oklahomans must ask is not whether they support the death penalty, but rather, do they trust this government with the power to kill its citizens.”

    The DOC is working to develop a protocol and procedures for future executions. We will continue to update as we learn more. 

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