Oklahoma’s attorney general is asking for permission to disclose information in a lethal injection lawsuit to the judge but not to attorneys for death row inmates. Why the state is asking for the secrecy is a mystery, reports The Oklahoman. Attorney General Scott Pruitt is representing the Oklahoma Corrections Department in the legal challenge to Oklahoma’s execution protocol, and is investigating the agency over a drug mix-up on Sept. 30 that halted the execution of Richard Glossip. Yesterday, an assistant attorney general asked a federal judge for permission to file in secret a request for relief on behalf of corrections officials because of those circumstances.
Asked why the state would not explain to the people it represents what the filing means, spokesman Aaron Cooper said revealing why the attorney general’s office needs to keep the information secret would defeat the purpose of having undisclosed discussions with the judge. Oklahoma law protects identities of state and private employees who participate in executions. The law came under scrutiny last year, when Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner sued the state over keeping the identities a secret. The inmates claimed that if the drug provider were anonymous, public defenders could not properly vet the qualifications and track record of the pharmacy. The attorneys said any incompetency in manufacturing the drugs could violate the inmates’ protection against cruel and unusual punishment.