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March 27, 2014

Oklahoma judge strikes execution law over privacy

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma judge voided the state’s execution law Wednesday, agreeing with inmates that a “veil of secrecy” preventing them from seeking information about the drugs used in lethal injections violated their rights under the state constitution.

Oklahoma is among the states that have promised companies confidentiality if they will provide the sedatives or paralyzing agents used to execute condemned prisoners and went beyond that to prevent information from being revealed even in court.

Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish ruled Wednesday that preventing inmates Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner from pressing their claims in a courtroom went too far.

Her decision did not undermine their convictions or death sentences — just the state’s procedures for carrying out executions.

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