DOC Director Outlines Execution Protocol Changes

Monday, September 8th 2014, 6:58 pm

The head of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections says the execution of Clayton Lockett was not "botched”, but they will be making a number of changes when it comes to executing Oklahoma inmates in the future.

For the first time Monday, the DOC Director Robert Patton addressed the results into the investigation of Clayton Lockett's execution.

The Department of Public Safety report ruled a catheter in Lockett's vein became dislodged and no one noticed, so the execution drugs “went into Lockett's tissue not his veins” as intended. It also laid out a total of 11 recommendations for future executions. Patton said the agency would adopt all of them that are within their authority. That includes a major reconstruction of the execution room to include better equipment and communication.

“All the phones will be moved into the back where I will be so communication with the Governor's office, communication with the AG will be instantious,” Patton told reporters Monday.

And that means when possible the director will be in the execution room not in the witness room.

“Moving forward I will be inside and with direct communication eyes on what's going on,” he said.

Patton says his staff began rewriting execution protocol shortly after Lockett's execution and he hopes to hand the new procedures over to the Attorney General's office for legal review in two weeks. As soon as that's approved, his staff will start training on the new protocol.

“It's the intention of the agency to be ready by the November execution.”

Charles Warner is scheduled to be executed on Nov. 13. On Monday his attorney questioned the haste the new procedures will be implemented.

9/8/2014 Related Story: DOC Leader Outlines Execution Protocol Changes

“According to Director Patton, DOC intends to once again undertake extensive changes to its execution procedures under pressure to carry out a scheduled execution just two months from now,” said Madeline Cohen, Warner's attorney. 

“If Oklahoma is serious about ensuring that executions meet constitutional requirements, then it should obtain an additional stay of Charles Warner's execution, as well as all scheduled executions, until all necessary protocol changes, infrastructure modifications, and staff retraining have been developed, implemented, and subjected to independent scrutiny.”

But Patton says they have been working hundreds of hours on the new protocol and reached out to several surrounding states and implementing their best practices.

“I'm very confident moving forward in the process of executing inmates in the state of Oklahoma,” said Patton.

Gov. Mary Fallin has said she wants the new guidelines implemented before executions resume.

Dale Baich an attorney of OK death row prisoners issued this statement:

"The execution of Mr. Lockett represented multiple foundational failures of leadership, at varying levels, including the systematic lack of transparency which has marked this execution since before it began. Any changes to the protocol will need to be carefully studied to determine if the many problems identified by the DPS review are

appropriately addressed. Additionally, the larger issue of how so many things could go wrong at once must be addressed. Any changes to the current protocol should be part of the review by the federal court in the pending lawsuit."


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