Alabama puts executions on hold for a “top-to-bottom review” of execution protocol

Nov. 22, 2022 | All Alabama executions have been put on hold until a thorough review can be conducted regarding the state’s lethal injection protocol. Governor Kay Ivey issued this order following the failed execution attempt of Kenneth Smith. 

After the Supreme Court overturned a stay late at night, prison officials tried for an hour to insert an IV without success. Smith’s execution was ultimately halted once prison officials determined that they would not be able to set the IV before Smith’s death warrant expired at midnight. 

In September 2022, the state called off the execution of Alan Miller for the same reason. And in July 2022, when the state executed Joe Nathan James, a veil of secrecy surrounded the administration of the lethal injection, which reportedly took over three hours.

Governor Ivey, whose self-professed pro-life values have historically fallen short when it comes to people on death row, said in Monday’s statement, “I will commit all necessary support and resources to the Department to ensure those guilty of perpetrating the most heinous crimes in our society receive their just punishment.”

As the review is being conducted, Governor Ivey has asked Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall to withdraw Alabama’s two pending motions in the Alabama Supreme Court to set a new execution date for Alan Eugene Miller and one for James Edward Barber. The protocol review will be carried out by Alabama’s Department of Corrections. No timeline has been given for this process. 

Alabama Rep. Anthony Daniels said, “Currently, the recent botched executions appear to be the very definition of cruel and unusual punishment. My hope is that this moratorium will be an opportunity to educate the public on the many problems associated with the death penalty and will lead the state to reconsider its position.”

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