Alabama: Execution of Alan Eugene Miller canceled – again problems with the execution

Fifty-seven-year-old Alan Eugene Miller was scheduled to be executed Thursday night by the state of Alabama.

On Monday, a federal judge had issued a stay because Miller had made a credible case that he opted for a method of execution other than lethal injection in 2018, namely nitrogen hypoxia – but Alabama is not prepared for this and wanted to execute Miller by lethal injection on Thursday.

Prosecutors appealed and asked for the stay to be reinstated. The appeals court, however, in a 32-page ruling, upheld the federal judge’s decision.

The state of Alabama then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court – which, about three hours after the scheduled execution date, lifted the stay by a 5-4 vote, clearing the way for the death sentence to be carried out. The Supreme Court’s decision was limited to three short sentences – not a word of explanation.

The Bureau of Prisons then began preparing for the execution. When problems arose in getting the intravenous line in Miller, the execution was called off a half hour before midnight (local time). The execution order would have been valid only until midnight.

Alabama has a history of irregularities and problems with executions. As recently as July, it took several hours for hypodermic needles to be placed in Joe Nathan James Jr. and an autopsy revealed the torture he apparently underwent in the process.