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Oklahoma still has – and implements – the death penalty

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

A number of states have outlawed capital punishment (more commonly known as the death penalty). A handful of others have moratoriums put in place by their governors. Other factors have limited executions in states where it’s still legal.

Some death row inmates have been proven innocent through DNA and other evidence. “Botched” lethal injections were made. Certified physicians are prohibited from being involved in executions because it’s a violation of the Hippocratic oath. Leading pharmaceutical companies have also backed away from allowing their products to be used in lethal injections, which is the primary method of capital punishment used here in Oklahoma.

Despite all of this, Oklahoma is moving forward with its plans to execute some 25 people (over half of its death row inmates) over the next 29 months. One law professor here in the state, who called the plans “horrifying,” explained it this way: “Oklahoma views its criminal justice system as, No. 1, infallible and, No. 2, punitive…. I think that the advent of DNA evidence has really shown us how often we get cases, and even very serious capital cases, wrong.”

What is first-degree murder in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, someone convicted of first-degree murder can receive a death sentence. Under the law, deliberate murder (one with “malice aforethought”) is first-degree murder.

However, there are special circumstances in which a killing without malice aforethought can also be considered first-degree murder. These include the killing of children, law enforcement or correctional officers as well as “to further the manufacturing, distribution, dispensing, possessing with intent to distribute, or trafficking of illegal drugs.”

If a loved one is facing criminal charges for which capital punishment is a potential sentence, it’s crucial to seek experienced legal guidance as quickly as possible. The consequences of not having a vigorous defense are too high to take on the justice system on your own.