A federal judge rejected a bid by Oklahoma death-row inmates to halt executions, finding that the state's protocol does not violate the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, reports the Tulsa World. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot clears the way for four planned executions. The prisoners are expected to appeal. Friot found that the plaintiffs, 21 death-row inmates, failed to prove that the state's use of a new lethal drug, midazolam, presents a constitutionally unacceptable risk of pain and suffering during executions
That is the standard set up by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 2008 ruling upholding lethal injection. The inmates asked Friot to rule that the April 29 execution of inmate Clayton Lockett was unconstitutional. Lockett began speaking and trying to rise up from the gurney after a doctor declared him unconscious. Witnesses watched him writhe and mumble for three minutes before blinds in the execution chamber were closed. Patton ordered the execution halted, and Lockett died on the gurney 43 minutes after the process began while Gov. Mary Fallin was attempting to grant a stay.