Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has asked the state’s attorney general to stay the executions and called for a full review of the state’s death penalty system after multiple failed lethal injections.
Ivey on Monday asked Attorney General Steve Marshall to withdraw the state’s two pending motions to set execution dates in the cases of Alan Eugene Miller and James Edward Barber, the only two death row inmates whose motions are currently pending in the Alabama Supreme Court. ‘ The Republican governor’s office said in a statement.
Ivey requests “that the (Alabama) Department of Corrections conduct a comprehensive review of the state’s execution process and how to ensure the state’s ability to successfully deliver justice in the future,” the press release said.
The motion comes as executions in Alabama have repeatedly drawn the national spotlight in recent months, including last week when state correctional officials halted the planned execution of death row prisoner Kenneth Smith, citing time constraints following a late-night court battle. The state already faced intense scrutiny following the execution of Joe Nathan James, in what the Death Penalty Information Center now considers a “botched” execution.
Meanwhile, Miller’s scheduled execution in September was halted because it was not possible to meet protocols before a midnight deadline, officials said. His execution was embroiled in a protracted court battle that eventually made its way to the US Supreme Court.
Ivey said in the statement she will fully support the Justice Department’s review, adding, “I just can’t in good conscience bring another victim’s family to William C. Holman Correctional Facility to seek justice and closure until.” I am confident that we can enforce the final judgment.”
The governor said she doesn’t believe the recent problems are the fault of officials at the Department of Corrections or law enforcement, but rather that “legal tactics and criminals hijacking the system are at play.”
Corrections Department Commissioner John Hamm said in the statement that his agency is “fully committed to this effort and is confident that we can do this right”.
The Death Penalty Information Center commended Ivey for her actions on the matter, but stressed that the review was not independent.
“The Alabama Department of Corrections has a history of denying and twisting the truth about its execution errors, and it cannot be trusted to meaningfully investigate its own incompetence and wrongdoing,” said Robert Dunham, the center’s executive director , in a statement.