OKLAHOMA CITY — A lawmaker said Thursday that he will pursue the impeachment of five Oklahoma Supreme Court justices, despite the dissolution of execution stays issued late Wednesday.
Rep. Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City, filed articles of impeachment Wednesday saying the state Supreme Court acted outside of its scope when five of the nine members voted to issue stays for death row inmates Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner.
Christian said staying an execution date is the exclusive domain of the Court of Criminal Appeals.
That court had declined to take action, saying it lacks jurisdiction when inmates are not challenging their convictions or sentences.
Christian said he filed the articles of impeachment because the five either willfully neglected their duties to uphold the Oklahoma Constitution or were incompetent.
He said he has no intention of withdrawing the resolution seeking impeachment.
In dissolving the stays, the state Supreme Court overturned a lower court's ruling that the state must reveal the source of the drugs used in the executions. An Oklahoma County judge ruled that the secrecy clause prevented access to the courts.
The high court disagreed.
"I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, guillotine, or being fed to the lions," said Christian, a former member of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. "I look forward to justice being served."
House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, said Christian's resolution will be reviewed to determine if there is merit to move forward with impeachment proceedings.
"These are very serious charges being put forward and are not to be taken lightly," Hickman said.
House Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, said what occurred didn't rise to the level of impeachment.
Lockett was convicted by a Noble County jury of the 1999 shooting death of Stephanie Neiman of Perry.
Warner was convicted of the rape and murder of an 11-month-old girl in Oklahoma County in 1997.
Gov. Mary Fallin had entered a stay for one of the inmates, saying she didn't think the Oklahoma Supreme Court had the power to do so.
The Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest court in the state for criminal matters.
She said both men will be executed Tuesday.
"This ruling shows that our legal system works," Fallin said. "The defendants had their day in court. The court has made a decision. Two men that do not contest their guilt in heinous murders will now face justice and the families and friends of their victims will now have closure."
Attorneys for the inmates could not be reached for comment.
The last double execution in Oklahoma was held in 1937, said Jerry Massie, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.
Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465
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