Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s office has released a frequently asked questions (FAQ) sheet, in an effort to answer the large volume of questions it received concerning the stay of execution for high-profile death-row inmate Richard Glossip.
Glossip was originally set to be executed at 3 p.m. Wednesday. However, Gov. Fallin halted the execution, issuing a stay of 37 days, due to "the Department of Corrections having received potassium acetate as drug number three for the three-drug protocol."
Here’s a complete FAQ sheet released by the Governor’s Office,
When did the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) realize it had potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride?
DOC’s execution chemicals were received on the day of the execution (Wed, Sept 30) in a sealed package. DOC staff became aware they had potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride in the early afternoon and immediately began the process of notifying both the office of the attorney general and the office of the governor.
Why does DOC receive execution chemicals the same day as the execution is carried out?
DOC is not authorized by state or federal law to store or possess execution chemicals other than on the day of the execution.
Does that same-day delivery contradict the execution protocol?
No. The protocol for “obtaining chemicals and equipment” does not include a timeline. It is available here.
Why did DOC receive potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride?
The pharmacist used by DOC could not obtain potassium chloride and instead used the medically appropriate equivalent (potassium acetate) without notifying DOC.
Why was the execution stayed if potassium acetate can be substituted effectively for potassium chloride?
The decision to delay the execution was made because of the legal ambiguity surrounding the use of potassium acetate. Out of an abundance of caution and acting on the advice of the attorney general and her legal staff, Gov. Fallin delayed Glossip’s execution so any legal ambiguities could be addressed.
The state of Oklahoma has an execution protocol which has been heavily litigated and approved by federal courts.
In light of the events that unfolded in the Glossip case on Wednesday, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt issued a request to indefinitely suspend all scheduled execution dates in the state.