Gov. Kay Ivey orders moratorium on executions in Alabama

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has ordered a halt to executions in the state after two failed lethal injection attempts and has called for a “top-to-bottom” review of the process.

The announcement came in the form of a press release sent out on Monday morning. According to the press release, the governor asked Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall to withdraw the state’s two pending motions in the Alabama Supreme Court to order the executions of Alan Eugene Miller and James Edward Barber.

“Working with Alabama Department of Justice Commissioner John Hamm, Governor Ivey is asking the Department of Justice to conduct a thorough review of the state’s execution process and ensure that the state can successfully deliver justice in the future,” the press release read.

Ivey also asked the Alabama AG office not to seek additional execution dates for other inmates on Alabama’s death row until the review is complete. No schedule was given.

Miller was scheduled to be executed on September 22 but survived after prison officials could not find a vein to start the intravenous line needed for the deadly three-drug injection cocktail before the death sentence expired at midnight. Kenneth Eugene Smith, who was due to die on November 17, experienced a similar situation and also survived after officers were unable to start an IV.

A federal judge has ordered ADOC to retain evidence from both failed execution attempts.

β€œIn the interest of the victims and their families, we have to do this right. I don’t accept for a second the narrative being pushed by activists that these issues are the fault of the Corrections people or anyone in law enforcement for that matter. I believe there are legal tactics and criminals hijacking the system at play here,” Ivey said in the statement.

“I will provide the department with all the necessary support and resources to ensure those who have committed the most heinous crimes in our society receive their due punishment. I simply cannot in good conscience bring another victim’s family to Holman seeking justice and closure until I am confident that we can carry out the final sentence.”

Hamm also issued a statement that was sent along with the governor’s.

β€œI agree with Governor Ivey that we need to get this right for the sake of the victims. Everything is on the table – from our legal strategy for dealing with last-minute appeals, to our training and preparation, the order and timing of events on execution day, to the personnel and equipment involved. The Alabama Department of Corrections is fully committed to this effort and is confident that we can do this right.”

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Three other states have governors placing moratoriums on executions, but like Alabama have not abolished the death penalty, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The federal government also last year imposed a moratorium on executions pending a review.

This story will be updated.