The Oklahoma Attorney General has filed a motion to space out seven upcoming executions to allow the state Department of Corrections (DOC) more time between each event.
In a filing dated Tuesday, Attorney General Gentner Drummond said that the current pace of executions is unsustainable in the long run.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, there are 10 executions remaining for 2023 – the only month without an execution planned is September. This motion is asking for the first seven executions of the year to be spaced out by 60 days, instead of the 30 days now allotted.
“Since October 28, 2021, the DOC has successfully carried out eight executions,” the filing says. “One aspect that has become clear over time is that the current pace of executions is unsustainable in the long run, as it is unduly burdening the DOC and its personnel. This is especially true given the extensive and intensive nature of the training DOC personnel undergo to prepare for each execution.”
The attorney general attended the last execution in the state on January 12, the filing says. After conversations with DOC leadership about the execution process, Drummond determined he would “request a revised execution schedule in order to alleviate the burden on DOC personnel, maintain confidence in the system, and preserve this solemn and important process.”
The next execution set for February 16 is Richard Glossip. His case has been winding through the appeals system for years. Glossip has been on the verge of execution three times before – even being served three separate last meals, his attorneys have said.
Critics have called Oklahoma’s one execution per month pace “reckless.”
In 2022, Deborah Denno, a Fordham University law professor, told CNN the state’s scheduled execution timetable is “just yet one more reckless move by Oklahoma.”
The state has a history of high-profile botched executions and experts have warned the fast pace could raise the chances of another one.
The motion, filed in the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, notes this request is only for the next seven executions. Its impact on the remaining 13 executions of death row inmates will be addressed “at the appropriate time.”
“Before filing the motion, Drummond visited with family members of the victims of the aforementioned inmates to explain the reason for the request,” a Wednesday statement said.
“I do not take lightly this request,” Drummond said. “These families have waited many years to see justice done, and I am grateful for their understanding in this matter.”
CNN has reached out to the attorney general’s office to determine the next steps in this case.