Alabama Cancels Execution Over Iv Line Delays

Alabama Cancels Execution Over Iv Line Delays: Officials at the correctional facility concluded that there was not enough time to execute a prisoner before the expiration of his death warrant after a flurry of last-minute appeals and complications including the insertion of an IV line.

After Delays in the Iv Line, Alabama Has Canceled the Death Penalty

Alabama pulled off its plans to execute a man on Thursday after a hectic few hours in which the Supreme Court authorized the execution to proceed but prison authorities assessed they did not have enough time to kill the inmate before midnight.

It was the second time in less than two months that Alabama tied a prisoner to a gurney and tried to place intravenous lines, only to call off the execution and return him to his cell. In both cases, jail authorities struggled to insert the lines after the Supreme Court rejected last-minute challenges.

Officials began inserting intravenous lines into Kenneth Eugene Smith just after 10 p.m. on Thursday, but they could only implant one of the two lines through which fatal injection medicines may flow. John Q. Hamm, Alabama’s prisons commissioner, said officials couldn’t add a second line before the death warrant expired, so they halted the execution at 11:21 p.m. Attempts to place a line in “many areas” failed, he claimed.

In September, officials tried to kill Alana Eugene Miller but couldn’t place a line into his veins before his execution warrant expired. After that attempt, Mr. Miller’s lawyers called him the “sole live execution survivor” in the U.S. In July, Alabama killed Joe Nathan James after trying for hours to reach his veins and chopping into one of his arms in a “cutdown.” Several state death row inmates have appealed based on this execution.

Mr. Smith’s lawyers had earlier won an appeals court to stop the execution so they could argue that Alabama’s difficulty putting intravenous lines may lead to a “cruel” death. The Supreme Court overruled that ruling, allowing the execution without explanation. Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson voted to sustain the interim stay.

Before then, Mr. Smith’s 57th execution was rare. A jury found that Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett’s pastor husband bribed Mr. Smith to kill her in 1988. Jurors decided 11-1 to sentence Mr. Smith to life in prison without parole. A judge overruled the jury and ordered Mr. Smith’s execution, a procedure Alabama prohibited in 2017 and is no longer permissible in the U.S.

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Alabama Cancels Execution Over Iv Line Delays
Lawyers for Mr. Smith failed to challenge his execution based on the judge’s judgment, but they filed a flurry of appeals on other topics that delayed the execution by several hours. Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama noted that while Alabama enacted an “essential” reform to bar judges from overruling juries’ decisions, lawmakers chose not to make the statute retroactive to honor sentences already handed down and victims’ families who were counting on them for justice.

“Justice could not be served tonight due to last-minute legal attempts to delay or cancel the execution, but trying was the right thing to do,” said Republican Ms. Ivey. “My prayers are with the victim’s children and grandkids as they mourn,” One of Mr. Smith’s lawyers said in an email early Friday that he and other lawyers were drafting legal files and planning future measures.

Jeffrey Horowitz commented, “Tonight is tough.” Smith was convicted of killing the pastor’s wife in 1996. The preacher, who offered Mr. Smith and another guy $1,000 to kill her, murdered himself a week later. The other hitman was killed in 2010. Mr. Smith’s lawyers said he was 22 at the time of the incident and had been “neglected and deprived” as a youngster. Mr. Smith’s regret, lack of criminal background, and good prison behavior were mitigating factors. Eleven jurors chose life without parole.

N. Pride Tompkins, the judge, determined aggravating considerations outweighed the problems. Mr. Smith was paid for the murder-for-hire but didn’t back out. He claimed jurors heard Mrs. Smith’s “emotional appeal.” He overruled the jury and ordered execution.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Alabama is one of four states that allows judges to overrule jurors who recommend against the death penalty. All of those states have now abolished or banned the practice.

Mr. Smith’s execution was the fourth nationwide this week. Three men were executed Wednesday in Arizona, Texas, and Oklahoma.

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