Executions

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The last execution scheduled in the U.S. for the year is set for Tuesday in Georgia. But capital punishment has gown rare in America, to the point of near extinction.

Even though polls show that 60 percent of the public still supports the death penalty, and even though the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld it as constitutional, the number of executions this year so far is almost the same as the number of fatalities from lightning strikes — 27 executions versus 26 deaths by lightning.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross holds a lengthy discussion with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the second stay of execution for Richard Glossip as well as the future of the Ten Commandments monument at the State Capitol.

The trio also discuss a plan by former Senator and Governor David Boren for a one cent sales tax to fund education and agency heads warned by legislative leaders to be ready for deeper cuts.

A county judge has upheld Tennessee's method of execution by lethal injection. The ruling is the latest in the state's years-old death penalty fight.

Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman ruled the protocol was constitutional, saying a group of death row inmates and their attorneys failed to show that the use of a single injection of the drug pentobarbital, compounded especially for the state, violates the Eighth Amendment protection from cruel and unusual punishment.

Death row inmate Bernardo Tecero is scheduled to be executed Wednesday, making him 11th person to be put to death in the state this year.

Tecero, a Nicaraguan national, is condemned for murder of a school teacher during an armed robbery of a Houston dry cleaning establishment in 1997. A Texas jury convicted him in 2000.

There is no dispute Tecero is the killer. At issue, however, is whether or not he should be executed.

Amnesty International has identified what it says is an "unprecedented spike" in executions in Iran in recent months, writing in a new report that at least 743 people may have been put to death in 2014 and nearly 700 more since the beginning of the year.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill talks about the two cases before the US Supreme Court: the execution drug Midazolam and same sex marriage.

The trio also discuss the only anti-gay measures to make it through the legislative process are heading to the Governor and the twists and turns in the case of the reserve deputy charged with manslaughter in the death of an unarmed black man.

Lethal injection was the grim subject before the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday. Specifically at issue: whether the drug combinations currently used to execute convicted murderers in some states are unconstitutionally cruel.

The issue comes to the court after three botched executions over the past year.

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in three death penalty cases testing which drug combinations constitute cruel and unusual punishment when used to execute a convicted murderer by lethal injection.

It is the second time in seven years that the justices have looked at the lethal injection question, and it comes after three botched executions over the past year.

The death penalty is legal in more than 30 states, but the long-controversial practice has come under renewed scrutiny after a series of botched executions in several states last year.

Opponents of capital punishment argue that the death penalty undermines the fair administration of justice, as wealth, geography, race and quality of legal representation all come into play, with uneven results.

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