Dale Baich, an attorney representing Oklahoma death row inmates issued a statement, "In Response to Today’s Release of Oklahoma Execution Protocol:
“The protocol released by the state today does not remedy the problems that happened in Clayton Lockett’s execution. The protocol gives the Director of the DOC sole discretion to choose from four options, two of which are experimental. The prisoner will be given only ten days’ notice of the selected method of execution and this is insufficient time for the court to review the procedures to ensure that the protocol is constitutional. The protocol calls for less, not more transparency in executions, by limiting the number of media eyewitnesses and keeping information about the source and efficacy of the drugs from the prisoner. The only way to ensure that what happened to Mr. Lockett does not happen again is through discovery and fact-finding in the federal courts.”
"Oklahoma unveils new procedures after botched execution of Clayton Lockett," is AP coverage, via the Guardian.
Oklahoma prison officials have unveiled new execution procedures to replace those used in April when an inmate writhed and moaned before being declared dead 43 minutes after his lethal injection began.
The new guidelines allow the state to keep using midazolam, a sedative used in flawed executions earlier this year in Ohio, Oklahoma and Arizona, although it calls for increasing by five times the dose it gave Clayton Lockett in April. His botched execution renewed debate over what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment
Other changes include more training requirements for prison staff and members of the execution teams, and having contingency plans in case of problems with execution equipment or an inmate’s medical condition. The new protocols reduce the number of media witnesses from 12 to five.
The Tulsa World reports, "State releases new execution protocol," by Ziva Branstetter and Cary Aspinwall.
The policy includes four possible drug combinations, including the three-part cocktail used on Lockett. Two of Oklahoma’s options under the updated policy use the sedative midazolam, controversial for its role in lengthy executions in other states.
However, Oklahoma’s new policy increases the amount of midazolam to be used from 100 milligrams to 500 milligrams.
Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office had claimed in previous court filings that the lower amount used on Lockett was sufficient to render an inmate unconscious. Some experts interviewed by the Tulsa World have said the drug is not a true anesthetic.
Only one of the new drug combinations contains potassium chloride, a drug used to stop the heart. In a key ruling upholding lethal injection, the Supreme Court said states take an “unacceptable risk” of cruel and unusual punishment if an inmate receives potassium chloride while conscious.
The DOC’s previous policy included potassium chloride in four out of five drug combinations.
DOC Director Robert Patton will be in charge of choosing the drug combination used by the state, notifying the condemned inmate of his decision 10 days in advance of an execution. The previous policy placed the warden of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in charge of choosing drugs and other aspects of the process.
"Oklahoma Department of Corrections releases new execution protocol," is by Graham Lee Brewer in the Oklahoman.
A staff member also will be responsible for watching the insertion point during the procedure to ensure no problems occur. The lethal drugs used to kill Lockett collected in his tissue near the insertion point due to a poorly placed femoral IV, the state investigation found, and the large, swollen area went unnoticed for several minutes due to a sheet covering Lockett’s groin.
The protocol also places a one hour time limit on the placement of the IV, after which the director will be required to contact the governor’s office and advise on the possibility of a stay.
The state Corrections Department released the protocol late Tuesday without statement or comment. Director Robert Patton has declined to comment on the protocol, as recently as last week’s Board of Corrections meeting, due to pending litigation.
The McAleseter News-Capital reports, "Oklahoma revises execution policy," by Glenn Puit and Parker Perry.
The new protocols include upping the dosage of midazolam five-fold during executions, increasing training for participants, including a physician and paramedic responsible for inserting the IV line into the condemned, and making the IV line more visible to corrections staffers. The Department of Corrections will also utilize a "non-invasive" device to locate a vein in the condemned.
The protocols also call for reducing the number of media witnesses to 5. No explanation was given by the Department of Corrections for any of the changes.
The office of Gov. Mary Fallin told the McAlester News-Capital the governor was still reviewing the new protocols.
"The governor's office received the new procedures today," said Fallin's spokesman Alex Weintz. "I wouldn't say the governor didn't have any input, but the procedures were released by the Department of Corrections."
Earlier coverage of Oklahoma's botched execution begins at the link.