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Oklahoma Execution Botched and Halted, Inmate Dies of Heart Attack

Update: The execution was botched and halted, but the inmate then had a heart attack and died. The execution of the second inmate was postponed.

Despite the controversy over lethal injection drugs, Oklahoma will proceed tonight to kill two inmates. The federal defender for one of them says:

“Tonight, in a climate of secrecy and political posturing, Oklahoma intends to kill two death row prisoners using an experimental new drug protocol, including a paralytic, making it impossible to know whether the executions will comport with the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual suffering...We have serious questions — were these drugs imported, are they counterfeit, what is the expiration date, are they tainted?”

Oklahoma's new drug protocol has not yet been tested. One of the drugs, the one that sedates and reduces pain, will be given in a much smaller amount that provided by another state that uses the same drug in its death cocktail.

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OK Passes Bill Providing for Life Sentence for Converting Pot to Hashish

The Oklahoma Senate yesterday passed a bill increasing the maximum penalty for converting marijuana to hashish to life in prison. A spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs said "the goal of the bill is to "send a message" that illegal drugs won't be tolerated in Oklahoma." The bill previously passed the OK House, then went to the Senate where a non-pertinent amendment was made. It now goes back to the House for enrollment.

Conviction of a first offense of cooking hashish would result in a prison sentence from two years to life in prison. Sentences would be doubled under a second offense, and those convicted would not be eligible for a suspended sentence or probation.

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 44 to 2. The earlier version, substantially identical, passed the House by a vote of 75 to 18.

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