Court of Criminal Appeals

Oklahoma Justices Send Execution Case To Lower Court


April 18, 2014

Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner have sued the state seeking more information about the drugs that would be used to kill them.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court says it is not the place for death-row inmates to go if they want a stay of execution.

Justices said Thursday that the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals should take up stay requests from 2 inmates scheduled to die in the next 2 weeks. The appeals court had said previously it didn’t have the authority because the inmates hadn’t met all technical requirements under the law.

Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner have sued the state seeking more information about the drugs that would be used to kill them. They say they need stays of execution so they can continue their challenge.

The justices wrote that the Court of Criminal Appeals erred in not taking up the request.

Death penalty abolitionists and others who seek to end the death penalty will protest the executions of two death-row inmates on the days of their executions.

The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty will host “Don’t Kill for Me” demonstrations at the governor’s mansion followed by silent vigils on Tuesday for death-row inmate Clayton Lockett and on April 29 for Charles Warner.

The inmates have been in a legal battle with the state over the secrecy surrounding which drugs are used in executions and their origins. The executions are still scheduled to take place, despite pending litigation in the case.

Lockett was found guilty of the 1999 shooting death of a 19-year-old woman, Stephanie Nieman. Warner was convicted for the 1997 death of his roommate’s 11-month-old daughter.

(source: Associated Press)

Swearingen requests hearing on DNA testing; DA’s office focused on execution date


march 15,2014

Attorneys for convicted killer Larry Ray Swearingen filed opposition to the state’s motion to set an execution date, arguing the Court of Criminal Appeals remanded the case for further proceedings.

A motion was filed in early March with the state of Texas for a tentative execution date of April 24. However, Swearingen “respectfully” requested a hearing in the 9th state District Court of Judge Kelly Case the week of May 12.

That hearing, if approved, would consider the effect of the appeals court’s remand on DNA testing, as well as the state’s request for an execution date, said James Rytting, Swearingen’s attorney.

“If they (the CCA) wanted to issue an execution date they could have established one by themselves,” Rytting said.

Swearingen was convicted for the murder of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter. She was last seen leaving the Montgomery College campus with Swearingen on Dec. 8, 1998. Her body was found by hunters in the Sam Houston National Forest Jan. 2, 1999, north of Lake Conroe.

Trotter’s death was determined to be a homicide, and that she was sexually assaulted then strangled by piece of pantyhose.

Bill Delmore, appellate attorney with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, said Swearingen’s attorneys have started “grasping at straws.”

In their opposition to the state’s request for an execution date, Swearingen’s attorneys contend where the Court of Criminal Appeals has remanded the case for additional proceedings, it “would be an abuse of discretion” to ignore the “plain language” of the opinion issued by the appellate court in this case and instead set an execution date.

However, Delmore said Swearingen’s case was remanded back to the district court in Montgomery County to deny future requests for DNA testing, and to set an execution date.

A briefing schedule for both parties regarding the effect of the appeals court’s remand was suggested by Rytting on or before May 2.

(yourhoustonnews)