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 September 29, 2022

Supreme Court rejects challenge to lethal injection due to inmate's fear of needles

Last Monday, the Supreme Court authorized Alabama to execute Alan Eugene Miller via lethal injection. Miller had contended that he should have been executed using nitrogen hypoxia.

According to The Blaze, a federal judge this week ruled with Miller earlier in the week and temporarily stopped the execution. However, a divided Supreme Court overturned that judge's decision in an unsigned judgment, allowing the execution to proceed.

Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Amy Coney Barrett, and Ketanji Brown Jackson, the four female justices, all voiced their disagreement.

Alabama approved a law in 2018 allowing death row inmates to choose a novel method of execution called nitrogen hypoxia, in which a person is fatally deprived of oxygen.

Miller, who was found guilty in 1999 of killing three men, stated that he was afraid of needles and preferred to die by nitrogen hypoxia. The state wanted to execute Miller by lethal injection, claiming that Miller never asked for nitrogen hypoxia.

Following the Supreme Court's directive, jail staff attempted to place an IV line in Miller's veins. The New York Times reports that the state was unable to finish the procedure before Miller's death warrant expired at midnight.

"Due to time constraints resulting from the lateness of the court proceedings, the execution was called off once it was determined the condemned inmate's veins could not be accessed in accordance with our protocol before the expiration of the death warrant," said Alabama Corrections Commissioner John Hamm.

Alabama has experienced a number of occurrences involving botched executions in recent years. After being "unable to install an intravenous line," the authorities postponed Doyle Hamm's execution in 2018, according to The Associated Press.

Written By:
Charlotte Tyler

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