What Does the 'Death Penalty Ruling' Mean to Pending Cases?

Mar 27, 2014

The execution witness room at the state prison.
Credit Department of Corrections

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A decision by an Oklahoma judge to declare the state's execution law unconstitutional leaves intact each death-row inmate's conviction and sentence.

Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish said Wednesday it was wrong for the state to say inmates couldn't sue to find out more information about the drugs that would be used to kill them. She said that denying inmates their due process rights violated the U.S. Constitution.

Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner had sued the state challenging the execution law, but did not seek to void their convictions or death sentences.

If upheld by a higher court, Parrish's ruling would remove what's been called a "veil of secrecy" surrounding executions but would not void anyone's conviction or sentence.

Lockett is scheduled to die April 22nd. Warner on April 29th.