James Coddington, the last of the seven death-row prisoners scheduled to be put to death in Oklahoma’s five-month execution spree, has received a stay of execution.

On December 23, 2021, U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Friot, who is presiding over a challenge brought by Oklahoma death-row prisoners to the constitutionality of the state’s lethal-injection protocol, stayed Coddington’s March 10, 2022 execution date “until a final judgment on Mr. Coddington’s claims in this case has been entered by this Court.” The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office consented to the stay.

On August 11, 2021, Judge Friot ordered a trial in the prisoner’s lawsuit, scheduled to begin in late February 2022. At the same time, he dismissed six prisoners — including Coddington — from the lawsuit, saying they could not prevail on their constitutional challenges because they had not designated an alternative method by which they could be executed. Although then-Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter had assured the court the state would not seek execution dates while the lawsuit remained unresolved, his successor, John O’Connor, disregarded that representation and sought death warrants against the six and a seventh prisoner who was not a party to the lethal-injection challenge.

Later, on October 12, 2021, Friot reinstated Coddington as a party to the lawsuit, finding “credible corroboration from an independent evidentiary source” that Coddington mistakenly believed that “he had already effectively communicated his choice of a firing squad” as his “alternative method of execution.”

Citing “the unique circumstances of this situation,” Coddington’s lawyers and the Oklahoma attorney general’s office stipulated that Coddington’s execution should be stayed.


Colleen Wilson, Oklahoma death row inmate James Coddington grant­ed stay of exe­cu­tion. OKC FOX 25, December 23, 2021; Jessie Christopher Smith, Oklahoma death-row inmate receives stay in exe­cu­tion while legal chal­lenges per­sist, The Oklahoman, December 242021.

Read the fed­er­al dis­trict court’s December 23, 2021 order stay­ing James Coddington’s exe­cu­tion.