Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond has filed a motion seeking more time between seven upcoming executions to ease the burden on the state’s Department of Corrections (DOC) and allow more time to prepare for executions. The request, filed Tuesday, calls on the court to space out the executions by 60 days, rather than the current schedule of 30 days apart.
On January 12, Drummond personally attended Oklahoma’s last execution, where he had subsequent discussions with DOC personnel regarding the execution process. Drummond concluded that a revised execution schedule was necessary to maintain confidence and uphold the integrity of the execution system. In the motion, Drummond wrote:
One aspect that has become clear over time is that the current pace of executions is unsustainable in the long run, as it is unduly burdening the DOC and its personnel. This is especially true given the extensive and intensive nature of the training DOC personnel undergo to prepare for each execution.
Public support for the death penalty in Oklahoma remains high. In 2016, Oklahoma voters approved State Question 776, which enshrined the death penalty in the Oklahoma Constitution. It received more than 65 percent of the vote. Between 1976—when the death penalty was reinstated—and 2020, Oklahoma carried out more executions per capita than any other state. Yet, issues regarding executions have persisted. For instance, in 2014, a lethal injection was improperly administered to inmate Clayton Lockett, and in 2015, inmate Charles Frederick Warner received the wrong lethal drug.