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AG: Failed execution not ‘cruel or unusual’

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said an inmate did not suffer “cruel and unusual punishment” during a “botched” execution attempt in November.

Kenneth Eugene Smith filed a lawsuit to keep the state from making another attempt to execute him after its first failed attempt.

In the suit, according to the Associated Press, Smith’s lawyers contend he was “subjected to ever-escalating levels of pain and torture,” and contend that the execution attempt was “botched.”

Prison officials, according to his defense team, attempted to insert IV lines multiple times into his collarbone and neck areas. Smith’s defense also says that he was kept strapped to a gurney even though a court order had been put into place that stopped the execution, the AP report said.

Lawyers for the state of Alabama representing Marshall’s office disagreed with the assessment, the AP said. They said that nothing unconstitutional had occurred.

“Allegations of pain related to difficulty achieving intravenous access do not amount to cruel and unusual punishment,” the lawyers wrote.

Smith was not the first case in Alabama last year where a scheduled lethal injection execution could not occur because of prison officials being unable to find a place on an inmate to gain intravenous access. Allan Miller, also had his called off for the same reasons.

The failed executions caused Gov. Kay Ivey to put a pause on executions in the state pending a review.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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