ALABAMA (WHNT) – Gov. Kay Ivey halted executions and called for a “top-down” review of the process after another string of failed lethal injection attempts.
Lawyers for Kenneth Eugene Smith, the man who survived the last execution attempt on November 16, and pro-life advocates are now asking a federal judge to bar the state from further execution attempts.
“Why is [it] is not working, and why is the state of Alabama willing to move ahead with executions when there is clearly a problem with the way executions are being conducted,” said Mike Nicholson of Alabama Arise.
According to our news partners at AL.com, Smith’s lawyers allege that he was strapped to a stretcher and stabbed five times with needles for several hours before being injected with an unknown substance until the state overturned the execution.
Advocates for the Alabama Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Alabama Arise are calling on the state to halt all future execution attempts in Alabama prisons.
“There’s an understanding with the federal judges that we can’t just go on like this [Alabama Department of Corrections]which is why the ACLU has requested an independent investigator to advance the investigation of the execution processes here,” said Alison Mollman, an ACLU representative in Alabama.
Smith was convicted of the 1988 murder of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett, who was hired by her husband. An Alabama jury recommended life in prison without the possibility of parole, but a trial judge overruled that decision and elected to sentence Smith to death.
At the end of his last execution date, Smith’s attorneys lodged a case with a federal judge.
“There was another failed attempt, and before that there was a failed attempt, and before that there was a botched attempt, right? So three in a row isn’t good,” Nicholson continued.
Former US Attorney Jay Town told News 19 that the state’s botched executions may be the result of a lack of experience on the part of the person administering the drugs.
“We have to look at it [whether or not] We have qualified medical personnel conducting these executions who are looking for the best way to introduce the two IVs into the suspect who is about to be executed,” Town said. “Those are the questions that need to be answered.”
Town continued, “I never cease to be amazed by the pressure groups that are anti-death penalty groups that want … executions to be more efficient.”
“We know we must carry out executions lawfully and we must try to be as humane as possible about the process itself, while understanding that there is a legal process that will always delay and complicate things.” said Town.
A commissioner with the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) said a review of execution procedures would be far-reaching. Governor Ivey, citing concern for the families of the victims, says death sentences are being delayed.
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