Alabama attorney general clarifies that there is no moratorium on executions
During a press conference, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said that Alabama would not impose a moratorium on executions
During a press conference on Monday, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said that Alabama would not impose a moratorium on executions.
This conference followed Gov. Kay Ivey’s move to pause executions after the state had a failed execution — state officials had to delay other executions this year and faced scrutiny over the execution of Joe Nathan James in July. Elizabeth Bruenig, journalist at The Atlantic, said it took the state roughly three hours to find a vein.
Marshall said, “In so far as I and my office are concerned, there is no moratorium nor will there be on capital punishment in Alabama.” A moratorium is a legal authorization to pause executions. Marshall said he would allow Ivey’s review, but did not declare a legal pause to executions.
He referenced the failed execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith. The Deseret News reported that during Smith’s Nov. 17 execution the state failed to find a suitable vein.
According to The Associated Press, Smith was convicted and incarcerated for murder for hire in the 1988 killing of Elizabeth Sennett. Prosecutors said that Sennett’s husband had hired two men and paid them $1,000 each to kill her in order to collect on insurance.
During Monday’s press conference, Marshall spoke directly about the failed execution on Nov. 17.
He said that it was a tragedy that Sennett’s family waited for 35 years “for justice.” He also said “the well-known axiom is true. Justice delayed is justice denied.”
Marshall said what happened on Nov. 17 should not be repeated. When asked about an execution date, he said that the state of Alabama would not set another date until it was confident that the execution could be carried out.
When someone asked Marshall about Ivey’s review, he stated that he looked forward to seeing the results of the review and to knowing what could be done better. He emphasized that he does not object to the review.
He also said, “But at the same time, let’s be clear, this needs to be expedited and done quickly because we have victims’ families right now asking when we will be able to set that next date and I need to give them answers.”
He later added, “We are not going to stand very long in a delay when this needs to be a major priority.”
According to Death Penalty Info, Alabama currently has 166 inmates on death row — the fourth highest number of any U.S. state.