A federal court has overruled appeals by 4 death row inmates in Oklahoma for a stay in their executions. The Oklahoma executions are planned over the following 3 months, with one scheduled next week by lethal injection.
The request for an intervention made by Julius Jones, Donald Grant, Gilbert Postelle, and Wade Lay was rejected by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling was termed inexplicable by Jen Moreno, one of the attorneys representing the death row inmates.
Moreno said that they were considering the next option as the team spends the weekend going over the Oklahoma executions ruling. The US court ruled that the federal judge had not erred in ruling that the death row inmates were not likely to be pardoned based on their claims.
Oklahoma Executions: Inmates Argue That Giving Them A Choice Amount To Abetment Of Suicide
The court also turned away an argument that administering midazolam, a sedative, was likely to cause severe agony. The US court also rejected the claim that giving them the choice of an alternate method would amount to forcing them to aid in their suicide and violate the inmates’ religious beliefs.
The federal court ruled that the Oklahoma executions appellants are only forfeiting a postponement in their execution which they termed as constitutional, and not paying with their lives for their religious beliefs.
The death row inmates have also argued that the change in state laws in 2011 is a violation of the constitutional prohibition on post-facto laws under which a person cannot be punished for any offense which at the time of commission was considered an offense, or be subjected to a penalty greater than declared under the law in force at the time of commission.
The federal court countered that the post-facto law only prohibits an increase in punishment and is not applicable in the case of the inmates. The court ruled that the Oklahoma executions stand under either version of the applicable law.