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AL Halts Execution Over Delay, Problem With Lethal Injection

Alabama officials called off the lethal injection of Alan Miller, convicted in a 1999 workplace shooting, because of time concerns and trouble accessing his veins, reports the Associated Press. Corrections Commissioner John Hamm said the state halted the procedure after determining that it could not get the lethal injection underway before a midnight deadline. The last-minute reprieve came nearly three hours after a divided U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution to begin. “Due to time constraints resulting from the lateness of the court proceedings, the execution was called off once it was determined the condemned inmate’s veins could not be accessed in accordance with our protocol before the expiration of the death warrant,” Hamm said.

Hamm said “accessing the veins was taking a little bit longer than we anticipated.” The aborted execution came after the state’s July execution of Joe Nathan James took more than three hours to get underway after the state had difficulties establishing an intravenous line. Miller, 57, was sentenced to death after being convicted of a 1999 workplace rampage in which he killed three people. “It is hard to see how they can persist with this broken method of execution that keeps going catastrophically wrong, again and again. In its desperation to execute, Alabama is experimenting on prisoners behind closed doors — surely the definition of cruel and unusual punishment,” said Maya Foa of the Reprieve US Forensic Justice Initiative. Supreme Court Justices in a 5-4 decision lifted an injunction that had blocked Miller’s execution. Miller’s attorneys said the state lost the paperwork requesting his execution be carried out using nitrogen hypoxia, a method available to him but never before used in the U.S.


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