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Alabama Capital Punishment News - Page 18
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Thread: Alabama Capital Punishment News

  1. #171
    Moderator Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Alabama says spiritual advisor can be in death chamber for new nitrogen method of execution

    By Mike Cason

    Alabama has not disclosed much information about its development of a nitrogen hypoxia method of execution, a never-used method approved by the Legislature in 2018 as an alternative to lethal injection.

    But lawyers for the state made one revelation Monday, telling a federal court that it would be safe for an inmate’s spiritual advisor to be in the death chamber for a nitrogen execution.

    The information came in a motion filed jointly by the Alabama attorney general’s office and lawyers for death row inmate Charles L. Burton Jr.

    “To the best of Defendant’s (the state’s) knowledge, a spiritual advisor may be accommodated in the execution chamber during a nitrogen hypoxia execution without incurring serious risk to his or her safety,” the motion says. “Defendant does not anticipate this position changing.”

    The motion was a joint request by the state and Burton’s lawyers to dismiss Burton’s lawsuit because the state has agreed to allow Burton’s Muslim spiritual advisor to be in the execution chamber.

    Today, U.S. District Judge R. Austin Huffaker Jr., granted the request and dismissed the case.

    The state has not set an execution date for Burton, who has been on death row since 1992 for a murder conviction in Talladega County.

    Burton sued the state in April 2019, claiming it would be a violation of his religious rights for the Alabama Department of Corrections to bar his Muslim spiritual advisor from joining him in the death chamber for final prayers and statements of faith.

    Burton’s lawsuit came about two months after the Alabama Department of Corrections refused to allow a spiritual advisor for another Muslim inmate, Domineque Hakim Marcelle Ray, in the death chamber for Ray’s execution. The ADOC’s longstanding policy was to allow only a state-employed Christian chaplain in the execution chamber.

    That policy has changed since Ray’s execution. In February, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Alabama could not execute Willie B. Smith III without allowing his pastor in the death chamber.

    In October, the state allowed Smith’s pastor in the chamber as it carried out Smith’s execution by lethal injection.

    In the joint motion filed Monday in Burton’s case, the attorney general’s office acknowledged that Burton held a sincere belief in the importance of having a Muslim spiritual advisor in the execution chamber.

    “Defendant (the state) further acknowledges that, based on recent Supreme Court decisions, Defendant no longer contends that the presence of a spiritual advisor in the execution chamber during executions is a legitimate security concern,” the motion said.

    John Palombi, an attorney with the federal defenders office for the Middle District of Alabama, who represents Burton, said the agreement was proper.

    “We are pleased that we were able to reach an agreement with the State of Alabama that allows death row inmates to engage with their faith at the time of their execution,” Palombi said in an email. “As was shown during Willie Smith’s execution, this can be done without difficulty.”

    The agreement, signed by Burton’s spiritual advisor, specifies what prayers he will say in the chamber, what he will wear, and the texts he will bring in. The religious exercises are expected to take about five minutes, the agreement says.

    The ADOC and the attorney general’s office have said little about the development of the nitrogen hypoxia execution methods. The AG’s office hired an industrial hygienist under contract to help with the project but would not disclose details.

    Judge Huffaker asked the state for more information about the development of the nitrogen hypoxia method of execution in July. In response, the state gave the court a status report in August saying, “The ADOC has completed the initial physical build of the nitrogen hypoxia system. A safety expert has made a site visit to evaluate the system. As a result of the visit, the ADOC is considering certain additional health and safety measures.”

    At that time, the state said had not determined whether it would be safe for a spiritual advisor to be in the chamber for a nitrogen hypoxia execution. So Monday’s motion was an update on that information.

    Monday’s motion said, “Defendant (the state) agrees to promptly notify Plaintiff when Defendant has finalized an execution protocol for executions by nitrogen hypoxia, and to provide Plaintiff with a public copy of this finalized protocol within five days of notification.

    The Legislature approved the nitrogen hypoxia method when Alabama and other states were having difficulty obtaining the drugs for lethal injections and a time of growing litigation challenging the lethal injection method as cruel and unusual after some botched executions.

    Asked about the uncertainty of the new nitrogen method today, Burton’s attorney Palombi said, “We are concerned about how the state plans on implementing execution by nitrogen hypoxia, however, we know to a certainty that, as evidenced by what has happened here in Alabama and what happened recently in Oklahoma, the present method of execution is torturous.”

    Nitrogen hypoxia would result in death because the inmate would breathe only nitrogen and be deprived of oxygen. Alabama’s death row inmates were given a chance to opt for nitrogen hypoxia.

    Oklahoma and Mississippi have also authorized executions by lethal injection but have not carried any out and have not announced protocols.

    AL.com asked the attorney general’s office and the ADOC today if they had any more information about how nitrogen executions will work. The AG’s office declined comment. The ADOC is checking to see what information is available, a spokesperson said.

    Trying to get married before I turn 27.

  2. #172
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Suspended without pay..

    Judge who criticized death penalty system suspended 90 days

    By Associated Press

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A state disciplinary panel has ruled an Alabama judge violated judicial rules with her public criticism of how death penalty cases are handled and suspended her from the bench for 90 days.

    The Alabama Court of the Judiciary ruled Friday that Jefferson County Circuit Judge Tracie Todd had violated the canons of judicial ethics with her comments and actions in death penalty cases.

    The court found Todd had made inappropriate statement that the court system in Alabama is corrupted by politics, abandoned the role of a neutral arbiter to become an advocate for defendants and for her own opinions and took inappropriate actions such as questioning an attorney about whether he gave a financial contribution to her opponent.

    The court suspended Todd for 90 days without pay. However, because she had been suspended with pay while the ethics complaint was heard, she was eligible to return to the bench this week.

    Todd made national news in 2016 when she ruled the state’s death penalty sentencing procedure was unconstitutional and barred prosecutors from seeking the death penalty against four men charged in three killings. Her ruling was later overturned.

    The Court of the Judiciary said Todd violated judicial rules with some of her comments in 2016, suggesting that the Alabama judiciary is politically corrupt, that court-appointed attorney assignments are based on campaign contributions and that an appeal in death penalty cases, where a judge sentenced a person to death over a jury’s recommendation, is “ceremonial at best.”

    A lawyer for Todd did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  3. #173
    Moderator Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    The State of Alabama believes it will finalize its protocol for executing death row inmates by nitrogen suffocation “within months.”

    In a federal court hearing held Friday afternoon, Richard Anderson, a lawyer representing the state attorney general’s office, said that while the state could not provide a “date certain,” officials believe an execution protocol using nitrogen suffocation will be completed “within months.”

    “It may be as late as the end of April or the beginning of May,” Anderson told a panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

    An execution using the method, which involves replacing oxygen needed to breathe with nitrogen gas, has never been carried out in the United States. The use of nitrogen suffocation was approved by the Alabama Legislature in 2018, with those on death row able to “opt into” an execution using the method. Oklahoma and Mississippi are the only other states to allow the practice.

    The revelation regarding the timing of nitrogen suffocation executions came in the case of Matthew Reeves, a condemned inmate who says state prison officials have violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Reeves has argued in federal court that the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) was required by law, but did not, provide him help to understand the form that could’ve allowed him to choose death by nitrogen suffocation.

    Earlier this month, a federal judge said Reeves’ argument was “substantially likely” to succeed in court and issued an order blocking his execution, which was scheduled for Jan. 27.

    In a 37-page opinion, U.S. District Court Judge R. Austin Huffaker noted that prison officials were “on notice that Reeves had IQ scores in the high 60s or low 70s, sub-average intellectual functioning, and had been found to be functionally illiterate a mere two months before it handed him the election form and expected him to comprehend and utilize it without accommodation.”

    The State of Alabama has appealed that decision, saying the order by Huffaker, a Trump appointee, was “clearly erroneous” and that the court had “abused its discretion” in ruling that death row inmate Matthew Reeves’ disability and need for accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act were open and obvious.

    A three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on that appeal in Friday’s hearing. A ruling in the appeal will decide the fate of Matthew Reeves, whose scheduled execution on Jan. 27 could move forward if the state’s appeal is granted. Ultimately, the case could reach the U.S. Supreme Court, which in a 6-3 vote rejected Reeves’ claims of ineffective counsel in July 2021.

    (Source: WGN-TV)
    Trying to get married before I turn 27.

  4. #174
    Senior Member Frequent Poster Mastro Titta's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Prato, Italy
    "Why this shroud of secrecy? We just want to know that everything's all right, we have absolutely no intention to dox, blackmail and shame into submission public businesses!!" (quote: average anti)

    Franklin-based FDRsafety terminates contract with State of Alabama following public outcry

    By Matt Masters
    Franklin Home Page

    A Franklin company that was at the center of public outcry for a controversial contract with the State of Alabama has now terminated its business on this issue with the state.

    The outrage came from FDRsafety's potentially assisting with Alabama's process of creating a gas chamber to execute prisoners.

    Franklin Community Church Senior Pastor Kevin Riggs, along with 26 other faith and community leaders from across Tennessee, signed an open letter demanding “in the name of Jesus Christ” that the company end their contract with the State of Alabama.

    On Monday morning, Riggs was joined by a group of eight concerned community members, including fellow faith leaders, at FDR’s Franklin office where they hand-delivered the letter along with a stack of printed emails and a copy of Riggs’ op-ed on the controversy that was published in the Tennessean last week.

    “Together, you are working to develop a new protocol, with an old history, to kill people: the gas chamber,” the letter reads in part. “It draws on our darkest moments of human experimentation and genocide practices by totalitarian and violent regimes of the past and present: Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany and Communist China.”

    Riggs and his fellow community members entered the small Cool Springs office just after 10 a.m. where they met an office employee who couldn’t speak on record about the issue, but did accept more than 3,000 printed pages that she said would be given to FDRsafety Founder and CEO Fred Rine, to whom the public letter is addressed.

    “You may think this contract is just business, but we ask you to consider what you stand for and want your legacy to be,” the letter concludes. ”If FDR Safety continues to support the development of this new nitrogen gas execution protocol, it will be remembered in history for gassing people alive—some who are innocent, others mentally ill and others striving for redemption. We urge you to terminate your contract for the sake of humanity.”

    Riggs said that he first became aware of FDR’s involvement a couple of months ago and has since worked to urge FDR to end the contract with the state, but according to Riggs, as of Monday morning, FDRsafety had not responded to him or others who had reached out to the company.

    The campaign to bring awareness to the issue actually began in July 2021 when 70 organizations, investors, and business associations, led by the non-profit Worth Rises, sent a joint letter to FDR Safety demanding their withdrawal from the Alabama contract.

    By 3:30 p.m. on Monday, FDRsafety announced in a prepared statement to the Home Page that the company has terminated its contract with the State of Alabama, something that it notified the state about on Monday.

    FDRsafety disputed the claims that they were aiding in the death of anyone, arguing that they were simply ensuring a safe work environment for employees who work on death row, as required by federal law, just as would be required for any occupation.

    That statement can be read in full below.

    “Throughout our history, FDRsafety has focused exclusively on protecting the safety and health of the employees at the businesses we serve. We have never been involved in designing or implementing protocols used to administer any form of capital punishment. Our work focused specifically on protecting employees and assuring they have a safe workplace, as required by the Occupation Safety and Health Act of 1970.

    "We have terminated our contract with the state of Alabama. FDRsafety will not perform work on this project going forward.”

    But for activists focused on ending capital punishment both in Tennessee and abroad, it’s clear that they oppose any individual, business or government’s involvement in any part of the system that aids in the death penalty.

    “No one should be commended for deciding not to commit murder, especially for profit, but we're still very glad to see FDR Safety stepping away from the development of a nitrogen hypoxia execution protocol and its relationship with the Alabama DOC,” Worth Rises Executive Director Bianca Tylek said in a news release. “Whether it’s building private prisons amid a pandemic or creating new ways to kill people on death row, Alabama seems determined to be on the wrong side of history. But we'll be there to stop them every time like we did today. We’re proud to stand with Pastor Kevin Riggs, the broader Tennessean faith community, the thousands of petitioners who called on FDR Safety to withdraw, and most importantly, the dozens of people on death row in Alabama fighting for their lives.”

    The details of FDRsafety’s actual work within that relatively small $25,000 contract is unknown as it is not public information.

    Riggs said in a phone call on Monday afternoon that if the direct action efforts resulted in the end of FDR’s relationship with the State of Alabama, then he would consider that a victory, but that it’s also unclear exactly when and why the Franklin company decided to end their contract with the state.

    Riggs said that as executions in Tennessee and other states continue, his work, along with other faith and community leaders, to see an end to capital punishment will continue.

    “The ultimate goal is to not have the death penalty anymore,” Riggs said.


  5. #175
    Senior Member Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    The anti-DP crowd really perfected the cancel culture that characterizes so much of the left

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