After using the wrong drug on a death row inmate and nearly repeating the blunder last month, Oklahoma won't be executing any inmates until 2016 at the earliest, reports The Frontier in Tulsa. A longstanding court challenge to Oklahoma's lethal injection process will likely be closed while state officials investigate how the wrong drug was used this year in a lethal injection and almost used again in September. Because the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals agreed to grant indefinite stays to three death row inmates who had execution dates set, attorneys for those inmates and the state agreed to allow the lawsuit to be closed for the time being.
A federal court filing states that in the interests of “judicial economy and comity,” the attorney general will not seek an execution date for any of the condemned prisoners until their attorneys are provided with the results of an ongoing state investigation and any changes made to the protocol as a result. The earliest that any Oklahoma inmates could be executed would be spring 2016, depending on how long the state's investigation takes. The agreement gives those attorneys a specified time period in which they can reopen the lawsuit, Glossip v. Gross, on behalf of their clients. A federal judge must sign off on the agreement. On Sept. 30, inmate Richard Glossip had been fed his last meal and was waiting to be taken to the death chamber when state officials said they realized they had received an incorrect drug for the third step of the process.