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Oklahoma court could face impeachment

EPA Lawsuit Oklahoma

Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A member of the Oklahoma House drafted a resolution Wednesday seeking the impeachment of state Supreme Court justices who granted a delay of execution to two death row inmates.

Republican state Rep. Mike Christian told The Associated Press that the five justices engaged in a "willful neglect of duty" when they granted stays of execution Monday to Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner, both of whom were scheduled to be executed this month.

Lockett and Warner, who aren't challenging their convictions, have filed a civil lawsuit seeking the source of the drugs used to execute them. Pending the resolution of that lawsuit, they asked for a stay of execution.

The Court of Criminal Appeals has said it couldn't weigh in on the delay of execution because it didn't have the power or the authority, so the high court said a "rule of necessity" led to its decision Monday. Under the state constitution, the Supreme Court handles civil cases while the Court of Criminal Appeals takes those involving inmates.

"This is a case of our state's judges inserting their personal biases and political opinions into the equation," said Christian, a former Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper.

An impeachment effort would have no impact on the current proceedings, which has put the state's two highest courts at odds. Attorney General Scott Pruitt claims Oklahoma is facing a "constitutional crisis," but the high court's action is a victory for the inmates and their lawyers, who have successfully used questions about drug secrecy to at least temporarily shut down Oklahoma's death chamber.

While courts in Missouri and Texas have rejected claims that secretive death row procedures could expose inmates to painful executions, Lockett and Warner benefited by bypassing the Court of Criminal Appeals and taking their plea directly to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Gov. Mary Fallin halted Lockett's execution to ensure he won't be put to death before his day in court, but complains the state Supreme Court strayed from a mandate that it handle only civil matters when it issued its own order stopping executions over the drug question.

"There is no reasonable rationale of this being anywhere near the realm of a civil case," said Rep. Aaron Stiles, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He complained that the state Supreme Court, which often strikes down legislative initiatives as unconstitutional, has crossed a line by granting a stay of execution.

Join the discussion

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Franco April 23 2014 at 9:24 PM

I thought that jury already gave their voice on what should happen?

Flag Reply +7 rate up
cdavecrz April 24 2014 at 8:36 AM

Make an example of these two. Kick them out of office. Take away any and all pensions payable by the state.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Billy April 24 2014 at 8:38 AM

So when did Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner give any pain killers to their victoms before killing them. And Gov. Mary Fallin, the killers have already had their day in Court.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
nnapodano April 24 2014 at 8:39 AM

And they wonder why people hate lawyers, here you have a few more wanting to make a name for themselfs by defending a murders right to know whats in the drugs that will kill them. Wheres the closer for the familys of the victims, the carrying out of thier sentences. These lawyer knew that bu by-passing the lower court thay would get thier 15 minutes of fame in the screwd up media in this country, now the next poor slob that really needs thier services will have to oay through the nose because now they are high profile lawyers, what a joke

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
Carol nnapodano April 24 2014 at 9:23 AM

Old joke, but every time I read something like this....Why do sharks refuse to eat lawyers? Professional courtesy.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
xpilot5867 April 24 2014 at 8:40 AM

So how much of a "stay of execution" did their victims get???

Flag Reply +3 rate up
bucweet57 April 24 2014 at 8:40 AM

are you out of your minds,those judges should be disbared . the sentances should be carried out .asap that is what the system [trial] was for

Flag Reply +3 rate up
cpenrod April 24 2014 at 8:44 AM

Too bad there is not similar enthusiasm for impeachment in our U.S. Congress. God help America.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
corridorsales April 24 2014 at 8:47 AM

Murderers should die in the same manner they killed their victims. We need a law that does not allow attorneys to be judges or politicians. Also, any law enacted by the majority of the voting citizens should not be reviewed or struck down by any judge.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
lotekno corridorsales April 24 2014 at 9:15 AM

A judge has to know the law, as well as politicians (law makers), so where do you propose we get them from, a construction job?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
chris44107 corridorsales April 24 2014 at 9:16 AM

Unconstitutional - no cruel or unusual punishment.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
bveyron250 April 24 2014 at 8:48 AM

I am sure the people these bastards killed died a painful death. Their executions should be painful. There might even be less killing if killers were executed the same way they murdered their victims.
as stated in the good book, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
chris44107 bveyron250 April 24 2014 at 9:16 AM

Our country is governed by the Constitution, not the Bible.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Billy April 24 2014 at 8:50 AM

Once proven guilty by jury get r done execute them save a lot of time and money. No murdurer has the right to a execution with no pain.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
chris44107 Billy April 24 2014 at 9:15 AM

You're wrong. They have a Constitutional right - no cruel or unusual punishment.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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