Alabama suspends execution after lethal injection fails

Alabama officials called off the Thursday execution of Alan Miller, convicted in a 1999 workplace shooting, because of trouble administering the lethal injection.

Alabama’s inmate had his lethal shot called off due to intravenous line problems. His attorneys requested information such as names and qualifications of the execution team members to help them understand what went wrong.

Wednesday’s hearing was held by Judge R. Austin Huffaker, Jr. on the request for information about the September attempted execution of Alan Miller.

Mara Klebaner, Miller’s attorney, said to the judge, “We’re trying understand what went wrong, and why.” Due to security concerns, the Alabama attorney general’s office requested that some information be kept secret or protected under a protective sealing.

After officials spent more than an hour trying to connect an intravenous cable, Miller’s lethal injection was aborted. John Hamm, Alabama Corrections Commissioner, told reporters that the execution was stopped because it took “accessing the veins a little longer than we expected” and that the state didn’t have enough time to move the execution forward by the midnight deadline. Miller is currently being sought by the state for a second execution. Miller’s lawyers are trying to stop the state from trying a second lethal injection.


Huffaker didn’t issue an immediate decision, but indicated that he would be inclined to request the state to hand over the names to Miller’s lawyers. The possibility of names being leaked was the reason a state attorney suggested it was a security threat. Miller’s attorneys suggested that the names of the people be used as pseudonyms.

Audrey Jordan, Assistant Attorney General, stated that there is a real safety concern for these people.

Alabama officials canceled the Thursday lethal injection for Alan Miller, who was convicted in 1999 of a workplace shooting. This was due to problems with accessing Miller’s veins.

Huffaker stated that pseudonyms would make Miller’s lawyers have difficulty researching their backgrounds and determining if the people were truthful during depositions. Huffaker agreed that Miller’s names weren’t necessary to be shared with him, noting that he was limited in his ability to penalize the death row inmate who violated confidentiality orders.

Huffaker was also skeptical about a statement made by the attorney general in court that claimed the execution had not started. James Houts, Deputy Attorney General, stated that it was the state’s claim that executions don’t start until the death warrant has been read in the execution chamber. Then the drugs can begin flowing. Klebaner stated that this claim is “defying reality”.


Klebaner claimed they have received very little substantive information from state officials, but Houts stated that they are doing their best to get it. Huffaker cautioned that the state should act in good faith when responding to information requests.

Huffaker stated to attorneys that if he sees stonewalling, he would have a talk with them.

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