Governor Ivey: Impose a Moratorium on Lethal Injection in Alabama

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Less than three weeks ago, the state of Alabama attempted to execute Doyle Hamm, a terminally ill man who was suffering from lymphatic cancer and had spent more than three decades on Alabama's death row. On the night of February 22nd, an execution team in Alabama spent more than two hours poking and prodding him with needles in a torturous and bloody process. Hamm was left with eleven puncture wounds, bruising, and significant emotional distress. Hamm was left covered in blood and afterwards reported blood in his urine, suggesting that the executions had hit a femoral vein and had possibly punctured his bladder.

Despite the repeated attempts to secure an IV line to pump the death penalty drugs into Hamm's body, the execution ended in failure and Doyle Hamm, bruised and battered as he was, became the first person to in the history of Alabama’s use of lethal injection to walk out of the execution chamber alive.

In the face of local and national news coverage of the painful torture of Doyle Hamm and the serious shortcomings in Alabama's lethal injection protocol, Governor Kay Ivey has yet to make a public statement regarding the horrifically botched execution that took place nearly three weeks ago. The silence and complete lack of action by Governor Ivey and the Alabama Department of Corrections stands in sharp contrast to other states that have carried out botched executions. In 2014, after the botched execution of Clayton Lockett, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin announced a moratorium on lethal injections and created an independent commission to investigate what went wrong. Early, in 2006, Governor Jeb Bush halted all executions following the botched execution of Angel Diaz.

In what can only be described as an affront to justice, Governor Ivey has done neither of these things. Governor Ivey has kept quiet and hoped the world would stop watching in time for Alabama to carry out another execution—this time of Michael Eggers, a severely mentally ill man who was convicted nearly two decades ago. Alabama's use of lethal injection has gone well past the line of cruel and unusual punishment and descended into a world of barbarism that has no place in American criminal justice. 

We're calling on Governor Ivey to end the state-sanctioned torture of individuals and do what other states leaders have done in the aftermath of botched or failed executions: Immediately institute a moratorium on lethal injections and impanel an independent commission to investigate the botched execution of Doyle Hamm. Consistent with the principles of transparency and accountability, Governor Ivey should follow the lead of nearly every other state that uses lethal injection as a means of execution and publicly disclose Alabama's lethal injection protocol so that it can be reviewed by experts and by the citizens of Alabama.

More in support of a moratorium in Alabama: 

http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/03/13/the-barbarism-of-alabamas-botched-execution/

https://www.thenation.com/article/why-is-no-one-demanding-an-explanation-for-the-torture-of-doyle-hamm/

AP Photo / Dave Martin



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