Judge Orders Oklahoma to Give Death Row Inmates Its Execution Training Plans

May 5, 2020

Oklahoma must give death row prisoners suing the state more information about a new lethal injection protocol released in February.

Judge Stephen Friot of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma ordered officials on Tuesday to give the inmates all available information about execution training by June 5 and to update them as changes are made.

The inmates reopened a lawsuit challenging Oklahoma’s lethal injection process after state officials announced the new protocol. Their next filing is due July 6.

"It is no secret that inadequate training is the significant factor as to why there were problems in Oklahoma’s past executions," said Dale Baich, one of the inmates' attorneys. "The Grand Jury and the Death Penalty Review Commission both identified significant flaws in the department’s previous training program and until the state develops and releases details about the new training protocols, the court cannot evaluate, and the public cannot have confidence in, the department’s readiness to conduct constitutional executions."

In 2014, drugs were injected into an Clayton Lockett's soft tissues instead of his veins, leading to him regain consciousness. It took 43 minutes for Lockett to die.

In 2015, a drug not named in the protocol was used in the execution of Charles Warner.

Later in 2015, Richard Glossip's execution was halted before it could begin after the state announced it had the wrong drugs.