Today's Enid News & Eagle publishes the editorial, "Working press should not be excluded from execution phase."
Regardless of the execution method, working media provide a sense of public accountability. Journalists are constitutionally protected to cover the legal process from start to finish and should not be excluded from the execution phase.
Considering the diverse viewpoints regarding the appropriateness of death penalty implementation, working press serve a crucial role as the eyes and ears of the public.
By discreetly covering this extremely sensitive issue, members of the media should serve their role professionally without becoming a public spectacle.
"Can state get executions right?" is the Stillwater News Press editorial.
A federal judge said Thursday that he is having a hard time believing Oklahoma will be able to implement the new procedures in time for the next round of executions. Richard Eugene Glossip is scheduled to be executed Nov. 20 and John Marion Grant is to die Dec. 4.
Whether the state can conduct a proper execution clearly is in doubt, so it seems sensible to delay any execution until it can be done right.
"Another new execution method, another bad idea," is today's Oklahoma Daily editorial.
It seems Oklahoma is intent on maintaining the death penalty at all costs, so we believe Oklahoma lawmakers should take the time to test execution methods and ensure they will get the job done humanely rather than rush to find temporary solutions and risk future horrifically mishandled executions. Our proposal would likely take longer and cost more than passing band-aid alternatives to make sure the executioner's schedule isn't delayed. But we believe guaranteeing humane executions is much more important than making sure inmates are killed on time. In fact, the the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment, which is what we believe testing unused execution methods on human subjects amounts to.
We urge all students and Oklahomans in general to contact their state representatives and let them know we don't support capital punishment at all costs, and certainly not by untested methods.
Also from Oklahoma, updated coverage of yesterday's federal court hearing.
AP coverage is, "JUDGE DOUBTS OKLAHOMA READY FOR NOV. 13 EXECUTION," by Tim Talley.
A federal judge said Thursday he is concerned Oklahoma will not be able to implement new guidelines and training for executions before three inmates are scheduled to die this fall.
"I'm having a hard time seeing how all of this can be done," U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot said during a hearing in a lawsuit filed by 21 death-row inmates in Oklahoma who allege that their executions could be cruel and violate their constitutional rights.
"The timing issues become that much more prominent," Friot said in denying the state's motion to stay the lawsuit. He suggested the state seek a delay of executions while the lawsuit continues and said there would be an injunction hearing "pretty soon," but did not set a specific date.
Assistant Attorney General John Hadden told Friot during the hearing that he needed to consult with prison and other state officials before deciding on a course of action. Aaron Cooper, a spokesman for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, said in an email to The Associated Press that the office had no comment.
"Federal judge urges state to delay executions," is Ziva Branstetter's updated report for the Tulsa World.
Friot suggested that a mediator may help attorneys for the state and the inmates come to an agreement.
“The plaintiffs are not in this case to litigate the death penalty out of existence in this state. That’s not going to happen in Oklahoma,” he said.
In the lawsuit, filed June 25, the inmates ask for an injunction preventing the state from executing them “using the drugs and procedures employed in the attempt to execute Clayton Lockett, or similarly untried, untested and unsound drugs and procedures.”
The Oklahoman posts, "Judge expresses concern Oklahoma execution protocol changes will not be timely," by Graham Lee Brewer.
Patti Ghezzi, one of the attorneys representing the inmates, questioned whether state Corrections Department staff would be properly trained in time for two upcoming executions. Charles Frederick Warner is scheduled to die Nov. 13 and Richard Eugene Glossip a week later on Nov. 20. John Marion Grant, the only other inmate with a scheduled execution date, is set to die Dec. 4.
“Our biggest problem is we have executions essentially back-to-back under 56 days away,” Ghezzi said.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot agreed, noting the executions are coming up soon and that the state has the ability to control that aspect of the case.
“If there is anything that ought to be controllable, all things considered, in this case it is timing,” Friot said.
“The steps that need to be taken can hardly be completed by (Nov. 13),” Friot said.
He denied the state’s motion to stay the case until protocol is revised, and instead urged the attorney general’s office to take steps necessary to prepare for the possibility of staying the executions until the case is litigated.
Earlier coverage from Oklahoma begins at the link.