Oklahoma Supreme Court upholds state's secrecy law on execution drugs

Oklahoma Supreme Court upholds law protecting suppliers of execution drugs with justice saying inmates dying in the electric chair do not need to know which power company is involved.

Frances Burns

OKLAHOMA CITY, April 24 (UPI) -- Two Oklahoma inmates are scheduled to die next week now that the state Supreme Court says they are not entitled to know the supplier of the execution drugs.

The high court, which voted 5-4 Monday to stay the executions, voted unanimously Wednesday to uphold the secrecy policy. The rulings end a legal battle that began in March when a judge in Oklahoma County said the secrecy law is unconstitutional.


The Supreme Court said that Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner know the drugs to be used and the amounts that will be injected.

“If they were being executed in the electric chair, they would have no right to know whether OG&E or PSO were providing the electricity,” Justice Steven Taylor wrote in a concurring opinion. “If they were being hanged, they would have no right to know whether it be by cotton or nylon rope; or if they were being executed by firing squad, they would have no right to know whether it be by Winchester or Remington ammunition.”

Lockett, 38, was scheduled to die Tuesday, but the Supreme Court's decision to take the case put the execution on hold. He was sentenced for kidnapping and killing Stephanie Neiman in 1999, two weeks after her high school graduation.


Warner, 46, killed Adriana Waller, his girlfriend's baby, in 1997. Officials say he will be executed as scheduled next Tuesday.

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