The Norman Transcript

Headlines

March 17, 2013

Death penalty falling, but not in Oklahoma

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY —

“That type of activity, that type of remorseless killing of another human being, deserves consideration of the ultimate penalty,” said Jeff Smith, the DA. His office currently has three pending death-penalty cases, probably more than at any point in his 27-year career, Smith said.

But Oklahoma is also part of the national trend downward in executions. There were 43 executions last year, according to the information center, down from a peak of 98 in 1999. Oklahoma’s peak of 18 executions came in 2001; last year the state had just six.

Maryland is on track to become the 18th state to abolish the death penalty as soon as its governor signs a bill passed by the House Friday, and the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, Richard Dieter, said more than a dozen other states are also considering doing so.

Increased awareness of wrongful convictions could be playing a role, he said, as well as the high costs of death penalty cases, which often bring seemingly endless appeals from defendants, and other factors.

“People have a little less confidence in the death penalty,” Dieter said. “It might get the wrong person. And so the safer path is to convict the person but not sentence them to death.”

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said he and other Oklahoma prosecutors were taking longer, closer looks at potentially death-eligible cases, which come in weekly in Oklahoma City.

“We look at death penalty cases harder than we ever have in the past to make sure we’re doing the right thing for the right reasons,” Prater said. “The death penalty needs to be sought in cases that are considered to be the worst of the worst.”

Lydia Polley, co-chair of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, went even further, saying more Oklahomans oppose the penalty than might be expected.

“People don’t want to bring it up because it’s a very emotional and a very difficult issue,” she said. “My guess is that there are a lot of people that are in the closet and would say they don’t support the death penalty.”

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Fracking Operation Norman library to host community dialogue about fracking

    Are Oklahoma oil companies an oligarchy that is controlling state policy? Is fracking safe? These and other topics will be the subject of an upcoming Fracking Forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 11 in the Norman Public Library’s Lowry Room, 225 ...

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Information scarce on ‘dark money’ group in Oklahoma superintendent campaign

    An independent expenditure group that paid for television advertisements opposing State Superintendent Janet Barresi in last month’s primary has not filed required spending reports with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission....

    July 24, 2014

  • Medical examiner says inmate died of an accidental drug overdose

    The Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office on Wednesday said a woman found dead in the Cleveland County jail Feb. 23 died of a drug overdose....

    July 24, 2014

  • Ride CART fare free on Ozone Alert Day

    Environmental officials have declared today as an Ozone Alert Day. Passengers ride fare free on Cleveland Area Rapid Transit on Ozone Alert Days....

    July 24, 2014

  • Board votes to delay plan

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s State Board of Education voted on Wednesday for a second time to delay a formal plan for adopting new education standards in math and English amid opposition to the proposal from three education groups that ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Arizona inmate dies two hours after execution begins

    PHOENIX — A condemned Arizona inmate gasped and snorted for more than an hour and a half during his execution Wednesday before he died in an episode sure to add to the scrutiny surrounding the death penalty in the U.S....

    July 24, 2014

  • Man injured in motorcycle wreck ID’d

    Norman police identified a man transported to Norman Regional Hospital’s emergency room after a two-vehicle collision involving a motorcycle and a car Wednesday....

    July 24, 2014

  • Wine, Organ and Compline at St. Thomas More

    St. Thomas More University Parish, 100 Stinson St., is hosting the Wine, Organ and Compline at 7 p.m. today. The series will begin with a wine and cheese gathering in the atrium, followed by an organ recital presented by guest organist ...

    July 24, 2014

  • 48 dead after Taiwan plane crash

    TAIPEI, Taiwan — Family members of victims of a plane crash were flying to the small Taiwanese island today where the plane had unsuccessfully attempted to land in stormy weather, killing 48. There were 10 survivors, and authorities were ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following persons were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Kenneth Leo Turk, 64, aggravated count of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol · Kelly Revonn Turner, 21, ...

    July 24, 2014