Slatest PM: Oklahoma's Secret Execution Cocktail Ruled Unconstitutional

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 26 2014 4:53 PM

Slatest PM: Oklahoma's Secret Execution Cocktail Ruled Unconstitutional

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Prison inmate clothes lie on a bed in the holding cell of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility

File photo by Mike Simons/Getty Images

Oklahoma's Death Penalty: Associated Press: "An Oklahoma judge ruled the state's execution law unconstitutional Wednesday because its privacy provision is so strict that it that prevents inmates from finding out the source of drugs used in executions, even through the courts. After condemned inmates gasped or complained they were 'burning' during executions in January, inmates Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner asked Oklahoma prison officials who was making the drugs that would kill them and whether the material was pure. However, under state law, no one is allowed to disclose the source of drugs used in a lethal injection — even if an inmate sues and seeks the information as part of the discovery process. Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish said that prevents the inmates from exercising rights under the Constitution."

The Mystery Cocktail: Reuters: "The judgment comes as more states have trouble obtaining the lethal chemicals used in executions because of restrictions placed on their sale by drugmakers. It also strengthens the arguments made by lawyers that untested chemicals may cause undo suffering. ... Several U.S. states, including Missouri, Ohio, Florida and Georgia have been turning to lightly regulated compounding pharmacies for drugs to use in lethal injections, after pharmaceutical companies stopped allowing sales of their drugs for executions."

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It's Tuesday, March 25th, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter @k_tunney and the whole team @Slatest.

Bin Laden's Son Convicted: New York Times: "Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the most senior adviser to Osama bin Laden to be tried in a civilian United States court since the Sept. 11 attacks, was convicted on Wednesday of conspiring to kill Americans and providing material support to terrorists. Mr. Abu Ghaith, a 48-year-old Kuwaiti-born cleric known for his fiery oratory, had recorded impassioned speeches for Bin Laden after Sept. 11, in which he praised the attacks and promised that future attacks would be carried out. His conviction on all three counts — and the lightning speed from his arrest to verdict — would seem to serve as a rejoinder to critics of the Obama administration’s efforts to try suspected terrorists in civilian court, rather than before a military tribunal."

College Football Players Given OK to Unionize: ESPN: "In a potentially game-changing moment for college athletics, the Chicago district of the National Labor Relations Board ruled on Wednesday that Northwestern football players qualify as employees of the university and can unionize. NLRB regional director Peter Sung Ohr cited the players' time commitment to their sport and the fact that their scholarships were tied directly to their performance as reasons for granting them union rights. Ohr wrote in his ruling that the players "fall squarely within the [National Labor Relations] Act's broad definition of 'employee' when one considers the common law definition of 'employee.'" Ohr ruled that the players can hold a vote on whether they want to be represented by the College Athletes Players Association, which brought the case to the NLRB along with former Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter and the United Steelworkers union."

Sisi to Run For President: Wall Street Journal: "Egypt's military chief and the architect of the ouster of the nation's first democratically elected president resigned as minister of defense Wednesday, announcing a presidential run he is expected to win. Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al Sisi tendered his resignation as defense chief to Egypt's interim president, Adly Mansour, and to a military leadership council that had already endorsed his candidacy in January, calling it a national duty following the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohammed Morsi in July. ... The move ends months of speculation over Mr. Sisi's political ambitions amid a harsh crackdown on his opponents in the Brotherhood in particular and among secular figures who have expressed discomfort with Egypt's return to a military-backed autocracy."

The Search Goes On: CBS/AP: "With search and cadaver dogs leading the way, rescuers using small bulldozers and their bare hands pushed through sludge strewn with splintered homes and twisted cars to find 10 more bodies in the debris of a Washington state mudslide, authorities said. ... Two bodies were recovered Tuesday, while eight more were located in the debris field from Saturday's slide 55 miles northeast of Seattle, Hots said. That brings the likely death toll to 24, though authorities are keeping the official toll at 16 until the eight other bodies are recovered. With scores still missing, authorities are working off a list of 176 people unaccounted for, though some names were believed to be duplicates."

That's all for today. See you back here on tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.

Kelly Tunney is a Slate intern in New York City.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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