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AG rejects moratorium on executions: ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’

The state will continue to carry out capital punishment while Gov. Kay Ivey conducts a “top-to-bottom review” of Alabama’s execution protocol, Attorney General Steve Marshall announced Monday.

The governor’s request for a review of the state’s execution protocol comes after Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) officials unsuccessfully attempted to administer the sentences of two death row inmates within the past three months.

In announcing the review, Ivey asked the attorney general not seek additional execution dates until the process was completed.

“For the sake of the victims and their families, we’ve got to get this right,” Ivey said in a statement last month. The governor blamed Alabama’s execution woes on the “legal tactics” employed by inmates’ defense teams and “criminals hijacking the system.”

Alan Eugene Miller, whose execution was scheduled for Sept. 22, avoided his punishment due to the state’s inability to access his veins. Kenneth Eugene Smith also avoided his execution last month due to officials’ failure to locate a suitable vein.

ADOC Commissioner John Hamm said his department “is fully committed to” Ivey’s “effort and confident that we can get this done right.”

During a Monday press conference, Marshall declared that no moratorium would exist for state executions.

“So far as I and my office is concerned, there is no moratorium, nor will there be, on capital punishment in Alabama,” said Marshall. “What occurred on Nov. 17 was a travesty, but not for the many reasons that death penalty opponents and death row sympathizers would have the public to believe.”

The attorney general then expressed sympathy for the victims’ families who did not see the murderers brought to justice.

 

(Video courtesy of WHNT News 19)

“The well known axiom is true: ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’ And the clear record is that the delay relating to these executions lies at the feet of the inmates and their lawyers, not the State of Alabama,” said Marshall.

The attorney general took exception to the media coverage surrounding Smith, a man convicted in 1996 of a murder-for-hire of a pastor’s wife in North Alabama.

“Much of that coverage has seemingly been openly sympathetic to Smith and his cause, even some going so far as to advocate for the abolishment of the death penalty,” said Marshall. “And on what basis exactly? Because a cold-blooded convicted killer complains about the prodding and poking of a small IV line.”

Marshall referred to Smith as “a monster” whose victim was “beaten and bludgeoned to the point where her face was unrecognizable to her family and to her friends.”

“In Alabama, we acknowledge there are some crimes that are so heinous, atrocious and cruel, so depraved, that the only just punishment is death,” he said. “Kenny Smith, like Alan Miller before him, succeeded in only postponing, not escaping, that just punishment.”

Alabama’s chief law enforcement officer then pushed back against the notion that “there is a so-called moratorium on executions in Alabama.”

“And I will tell you that characterization came as a great surprise to me,” he said, before detailing that only the attorney general and the state’s high court had the authority to seek execution dates.

“[I] trust that Governor Ivey and her team will take all steps necessary to to allow the orders of the Alabama Supreme Court to be carried out.”

Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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