ST. LOUIS (AP) — A bungled execution in Oklahoma provides death penalty opponents with a fresh, startling example of how lethal injections can go wrong.
But the odds of successfully challenging the nation's main execution method will probably hinge on exactly what caused Clayton Lockett's apparent agony.
If the four-time felon suffered because of a collapsed vein or improperly inserted IV, the legal landscape might not change much. If the execution drugs or the secrecy surrounding them played a role, legal experts say defense teams for other condemned inmates could have powerful new evidence to press the Supreme Court to get involved.
A day after the execution went awry, some attorneys began planning new appeals or updating existing cases based on events in Oklahoma.