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Senate committee advances bill to modify execution procedure

Feb 10, 2015 | by Lynn Powell

– The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday advanced legislation that would allow the state to utilize nitrogen hypoxia as an alternative method for executing death row prisoners. Authored by Sen. Anthony Sykes, Senate Bill 794, states that nitrogen hypoxia will be used to carry out death sentences in the event that an appellate court rules the state’s existing lethal injection procedure to be unconstitutional.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday advanced legislation that would allow the state to utilize nitrogen hypoxia as an alternative method for executing death row prisoners.

Authored by Sen. Anthony Sykes, Senate Bill 794, states that nitrogen hypoxia will be used to carry out death sentences in the event that an appellate court rules the state’s existing lethal injection procedure to be unconstitutional.

“Today, we are moving forward with a plan that would allow the state to proceed with the implementation of the death penalty for our most heinous criminals,” said Sykes, R-Moore. “The state has an obligation to the people of Oklahoma and to the families of victims to crimes to see that this penalty is enforced effectively. The death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for our worst criminals and nitrogen hypoxia is recognized as one of the most humane methods for carrying out the sentence. It is important that the Legislature act to ensure the will of the people of Oklahoma will not be dismissed by the courts.”

Rep. Mike Christian is the House author of the proposal, and has also authored legislation relating to nitrogen hypoxia this year.

“I applaud the Senate Judiciary committee for passing this measure,” said Christian, R-Oklahoma City. “Senator Sykes and I will be working on this issue this session.”

This afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee will hear House Bill 1879, a similar measure.