Johnson recently retired after 33-years in the State Senate, representing Oklahoma City's predominantly African American "Eastside," where she pursued a game-changing focus on health/mental health/human services issues that disproportionately affect the economic and social well-being of the poor, minorities, women, children, and people with disabilities. Johnson contends her aggressive proposals on sentencing reform and abolishing the death penalty are beginning to gain traction in Oklahoma's conservative climate.
Johnson's advocacy grew out of her Master's Thesis on Women and Incarceration in Oklahoma, which is reflective of the high cost and impact on the state's budget.
In April, when the State Supreme Court issued a temporary stay on the execution of Clayton Lockett, citing concerns about the constitutionality of that law, Fallin decided to ignore it. The Supreme Court's "attempted stay of execution is outside the constitutional authority of that body," she declared. "I cannot give effect to the order by that honorable court." (The Court eventually reached a different conclusion on its own, it said.)
"You have a political figure who unnecessarily rushed forward an execution, under the veil of secrecy, that led to the torture of an individual at the hands of the state of Oklahoma," [one opponent said].
FALLIN: I don't think this issue is about gun control. It's an issue about murder. Q: What on earth do you think would lead three teenagers to gun down a complete stranger, because they say they were bored and had nothing to do?
FALLIN: It's just unfathomable that they would even have a thought in their mind to gun down somebody who is so innocent, just taking a jog through the community. But, you know, in America, we do have different families that are broken, we do have poverty rates, we have those that are uneducated, we have substance abuse issues, we certainly have a lot of video games, a lot of movies that depict violence in our society, and that is something we as parents, certainly, as community people should take at heart, to always try to make things better in our communities.
A: Yes. When used appropriately, swift capital punishment deters violent crimes and saves lives. Capital punishment for certain heinous crimes is consistent with the high intrinsic value of human life.
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