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Judge denies stay of execution despite questions on constitutionality of Oklahoma's lethal injection drugs

Judge Stephen P. Friot

Another death row inmate challenging his execution was denied a postponement in federal court today.

Judge Stephen P. Friot declined to grant a stay of execution to Bigler Stouffer.

Stouffer’s attorney Greg Laird said Stouffer should be allowed to be part of a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s lethal injection drugs.

“I felt like the court would see that Mr. Stouffer is being treated differently than everyone else on death row,” said Laird. “They were all given an opportunity to be part of the lawsuit that’s going to trial in February on the issue regarding the execution protocol that’s currently in place.”

Stouffer was barred from the federal lawsuit in 2014 at the state’s request.

Stouffer filed his own lawsuit but Friot said Stouffer was unlikely to succeed in proving Oklahoma’s death drugs are unconstitutional despite the recent execution of John Grant. Grant writhed and vomited on the gurney at Oklahoma State Penitentiary before being pronounced dead.

Descriptions of Grant's execution swayed the majority of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole board to suggest clemency for Stouffer. All members on the board said they thought Stouffer was guilty of the 1985 shooting death of Linda Reaves.

Laird says he’ll appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the case will likely go to the Supreme Court of the United States.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, SCOTUS has recently only granted stays of executions for religious reasons. It has overturned at least 22 stays and federal injunctions against executions since the end of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Stouffer is scheduled to be killed Dec. 9.