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Oklahoma Death Row Inmates Seek Injection Protocol Challenge

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma is ill-prepared to resume executing inmates and its new lethal injection protocols would violate the constitutional rights of prisoners, attorneys for death row inmates said in a court filing Thursday.

Attorneys for several Oklahoma death row inmates filed a motion to reopen a case in federal court in Oklahoma City that challenges Oklahoma’s lethal injection method. In the motion, attorneys argue the newly released protocols are incomplete and that a grand jury investigation is unfinished.

“Oklahoma has a history of bungling executions,” attorney Dale Baich said in a statement. “Their lack of planning is a recipe for another Oklahoma execution disaster.”

State officials announced earlier this month that they had obtained the drugs needed to resume lethal injections, and Attorney General Mike Hunter notified the state’s criminal appeals court that they were ready to begin scheduling executions.

There are currently 47 inmates on Oklahoma’s death row, and more than two dozen have exhausted all of their appeals.

Oklahoma once had one of the busiest death chambers in the nation, but executions were put on hold following a botched lethal injection in 2014 that left an inmate writhing on the gurney and drug mix-ups in 2015 in which the wrong lethal drugs were delivered.