ACLU of Oklahoma Statement on State Officials’ Announcement To Resume Executions
OKLAHOMA CITY — In response to today’s update on execution protocol by Gov. Kevin Stitt, Attorney General Mike Hunter, and Department of Corrections Director Scott Crow, the ACLU of Oklahoma released the following statement:
The following is attributable to Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director:
“We fundamentally disagree with the Governor and the State Attorney General. There is simply no humane way for the government to kill its people. Oklahoma’s experiment with the death penalty is a miserable and grisly failure. Death sentences are handed out arbitrarily and magnify the biases that exist within our criminal legal system. Whether someone is executed depends more on which county they happen to be in, their race or gender, the race or gender of the victim and whether they had the financial means to hire adequate legal counsel. Statistics have shown that more than 10 percent of the people with a death sentence have been wrongfully convicted.
The government’s actions remain shrouded in secrecy and they continue to refuse to share important details of the execution protocol. In short, the government’s stated position is “trust us.” Members of the legislature joined the press conference today, where the Attorney General stated he fully expects this protocol to be challenged in court. The entire ordeal seems like more of an election year stunt than an attempt to carry out the law, but one where people’s lives and our Constitutional rights are on the line. So forgive us for not trusting the government on this one. Combine the random nature of who gets the death penalty, with the state’s repeated failures in carrying out executions, the government’s refusal to share information, and the possibility of Oklahoma executing an innocent person, and it just seems like common sense that we should not trust the government with this awesome and irrevocable power.”
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The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.
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The Capital Punishment Project works toward the repeal of the death penalty in the United States through strategic litigation, advocacy, public education, and training programs for capital defense teams.