The following statement was released by the Oklahoma ACLU Wednesday requesting the halt of all executions in the state, including that of Julius Jones , who is scheduled for execution on Thursday Nov. 18th, at 4 pm CT. Many advocates say the evidence points to Jones’ innocence, a view which is maintained by legal advocates including the Innocence Project:
Today, the ACLU of Oklahoma is calling on Governor Stitt to reinstate a moratorium on executions and issue a stay on the remaining execution dates immediately and until the judiciary has made a final decision on Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocols.
Oklahomans have watched as our State has administered four consecutive flawed executions or attempted executions, proving that the current lethal injection protocol is prone to disastrous mistakes that cause torture.
In 2015, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Governor Mary Fallin put all Oklahoma executions on an indefinite hold. The current rush to return, led by unelected Attorney General John O’Connor, is especially suspect considering the lack of transparency around the current execution protocols and given a pending federal court case, which calls into question the constitutionality of the use of midazolam, currently used in Oklahoma’s three-drug lethal injection process.
“The death penalty is an intolerable denial of civil liberties and is inconsistent with the fundamental values of our democratic system,” said Tamya Cox-Touré, ACLU of Oklahoma Executive Director. “In the time since a moratorium was placed on executions, the state has done absolutely nothing to inspire confidence that it is now able to successfully exercise the ultimate power of any government, and we call on Governor Stitt to honor the previous agreement of no executions ahead of the pending federal trial in February.”
Oklahoma’s use of the death penalty should give us all deep pause. Every Oklahoman must ask themselves not whether they support the death penalty, but rather, do they trust their government with the power to kill its citizens and in such haste after catastrophic failure in the recent past. The death penalty is cruel and inhumane, and it has no place in a society that values human dignity and justice.