Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Periscope: Three Strikes for DOC's Trammell, Patton

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Periscope: Three Strikes for DOC's Trammell, Patton

Article excerpt

If I were to fail at my job in spectacular fashion - let's say I wrote something that was untruthful, perhaps outright libelous - I would expect to be shown the door. That's what happens when you blow it, when you do something so egregious that you get your employer sued, when you have bungled it so badly that there are newspaper headlines around the country assailing your competence.

That's not restricted to the newspaper business. If you're an engineer and your building falls down before construction is complete, your future in engineering is bleak. Captains who run their ships aground are forced to become landlubbers. Lifeguards who have a few drownings on their watch are given the opportunity to change careers.

That philosophy even extends to felons. Although Oklahoma is not among the 24 states that have adopted habitual offender statutes, better known as three-strikes laws, the state used to have one. Until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1942 in Skinner v. Oklahoma, a third felony conviction for crimes involving moral turpitude led to involuntary sterilization of the offender. In Skinner's case, moral turpitude consisted of two armed robberies and the theft of a chicken.

We have low tolerance for those who can't get it right.

Unless you're employed by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. The crew there has flubbed three consecutive executions, yet all remain gainfully employed, going about the prison business as though it were just another day on the cellblock.

Start with Warden Anita Trammell, who, according to published records, receives a salary of about $87,000 per year for running the Oklahoma State Prison at McAlester. In an April 29, 2014, affidavit, Trammell swore that the people who would carry out the executions of Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner were properly qualified and trained. …

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