WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2015 -- The State of Oklahoma acknowledged Thursday that it used a drug that was not authorized by its execution protocol when it executed Charles Warner in January. Although the state’s investigation is ongoing, this situation highlights the importance of transparency in the administration of the death penalty.
Although the American Bar Association does not take a position for or against capital punishment, the ABA adopted a policy in February 2015 urging jurisdictions that use capital punishment to disclose “to the public, to condemned prisoners facing execution and to courts all relevant information regarding execution procedures, including … details about any drugs to be used.”
If executions are to be conducted in accordance with the principles of the U.S. Constitution, the ABA believes that governments must provide advance information about the drugs they plan to use in an execution. Transparency is needed if society is to have confidence in the fairness of the process.
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