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Oklahoma death penalty commission recommends extending moratorium
Oklahoma death penalty commission recommends extending moratorium

[JURIST] The Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission [official website] on Tuesday released a report [text, PDF] in which they “unanimously recommend[ed] that the current moratorium on the death penalty [in Oklahoma] be extended.” While the report noted that it was difficult to come to that decision, “[d]ue to the volume and seriousness of the flaws in Oklahoma’s capital punishment system,” it advised the moratorium should be extended until “significant reforms are accomplished.” The report also included recommendations for reforms such as recommendations for innocence protection, prosecution and defense of death penalty cases, clemency, execution procedures, as well as recommendations to the judiciary and the requirements for death eligibility. Particularly notable among the recommendations was the Commissions advisement that “the one-drug (barbiturate) lethal injection protocol” was the “most humane and effective method of execution possible.” The commission also recommended that Oklahoma “develop a process for continuous review of its execution protocol to ensure that the state is using the most humane and effective method possible.” The mommission concluded the report acknowledging that their recommendations were very broad but contended that

“Broad strokes are needed at present to produce a foundation upon which finer details may be applied with confidence.”

The death penalty has been a pressing issue across the country. Last month, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued an order [JURIST report] stating there is no stay in place preventing the execution of eight inmates schedule. Also last month, Orlando, Florida, Chief Prosecutor Aramis Ayala, announced [JURIST report] that her office would no longer seek the death penalty in Osceola and Orange counties, prompting Florida Governor Rick Scott to issue an executive order removing her from a case involving the killing of Orlando police lieutenant Debra Clayton. In February, the Mississippi House /paperchase/2017/02/mississippi-house-approves-bill-to-allow-firing-squad-executions.php[JURIST report] allowing firing squad executions. In January the US Supreme Court refused [JURIST report] to consider a challenge to Alabama’s death penalty system. In December a report by the Death Penalty Information Center found that the use of capital punishment in the US is at a 20-year low [JURIST report].