Yesterday morning I attended part of the federal hearing on the question of whether the men facing execution in Oklahoma may join the lethal injection challenge here. If allowed to do so, their executions would be temporarily halted. But the discussion I heard while I was there was not about legal standing, but about the efficacy of lethal injection as an acceptable method for killing prisoners.
The question society must grapple with should not be HOW we kill our prisoners, but IF we should be doing so at all, especially given how broken our criminal legal system is.
Yesterday afternoon and evening, we held our signs on the busy road across from the official Governor’s Residence in Oklahoma City. Then we attended the nightly prayer vigil led by Julius Jones’ family, and we prayed for all of those impacted — not just Julius. The victim’s family, the government workers, and the other men and their families also facing imminent execution in Oklahoma and elsewhere.
After the vigil as we gathered at a local restaurant, the news was breaking. The federal judge had DENIED the defendants motion to join the lawsuit, clearing the way for SEVEN scheduled executions in Oklahoma. Of course, the decision is being appealed, but the Oklahoma Board of Pardons and Paroles announced it is postponing the Clemency Hearing for Julius Jones that was to be today, and presumably, also for BJ Stouffer, tomorrow.
This is the topsy Turvey nature of the death penalty. For me, it’s an inconvenience. Now I get to negotiate with my wife about staying on the road a bit longer. But for the families of the victims, the families of the accused, and all of the lawyers and government officials involved, and the prisoners awaiting their fate, it is another hill on the dollar coaster of this screwed up system. It is awful, and emotionally draining. It must stop.
We are still gathering to rally this morning. As I see it, this is an invitation for more time to gather support to STOP these executions. And to kick it up a notch.
That’s why Death Penalty Action is here, and YOU can help.
This morning we are distributing nearly $4,000 worth of signs, banners and t-shirts to local activists who will be fanning out across the city and this state, raising awareness and driving more people to action.
You can help.
Chip in here to help us replace these materials, which we want to provide free to to activists across the country wishing to take similar action at critical moments. And I have good news in this regard. On Sunday I met with a donor who wants to match your investment, so we’re bringing back the TRIPLE MATCH! All donations on this page will be tripled. Please put in what you can right now.
(If you donated recently, thank you. Your gift is already part of this match. Please consider adding to it!)
I’ll report more later today. Thank you.
- Contact the Oklahoma Parole Board to urge that they recommend clemency for Julius Jones and Bigler Jobe Stouffer. Send an e-mail today to and then call the Parole Board at 405–521–6600 “Oklahoma does not need executions to hold
- people who have killed others accountable, and it need not resume them now. Please recommend clemency for Julius Jones and Bidler Jobe Stouffer.”
- Join (or support) the Visibility Actionin front of the Governor’s Mansion, 820 NE 23rd St, Oklahoma City (Tuesday & Wednesday) from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. Bring a sign & wear your t-shirt if you have one. We’ll have signs and shirts there as well.
- Click here to support Death Penalty Action’s work in Oklahoma.
Yours in the struggle,
Abe Bonowitz, Director of Death Penalty Action
PS: If you would like to help us do this work, please chip in here, and a pool of generous supporters will triple your donation!