Alan Eugene Miller: Alabama suspended the execution at the last minute on Thursday after deciding it could not be completed by the midnight deadline, officials said.

Alan Eugene Miller was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection earlier Thursday after a ruling by the US Supreme Court vacated a lower court. But officials were unable to access Miller’s veins within certain time frames, according to AL.com.

“Due to time constraints resulting from the lateness of the judicial process, once the execution was stayed, the inmate’s veins could not be entered according to our protocol before the death warrant expired,” the Alabama Department of Corrections said. Commissioner John Hamm, according to AL.com. Miller has been returned to the cell on death row, Hamm said.

Hamm met with the victims’ families before meeting with the press to announce the cancellation, Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement obtained by CNN.

“Regardless of the circumstances that led to this stay of execution, nothing will change the fact that a jury heard the evidence in this case and made a decision. It does not change the fact that Mr. Miller never disputed his crimes. And it does not change the fact that the three families are still grieving. they have,” Ivey said.

The execution “will resume as soon as possible,” according to the statement.

On Monday, a federal district court judge blocked the state from killing Miller by any method other than nitrogen hypoxia — an execution method never before used in the US that critics and experts say has yet to be proven humane or effective. Its proponents claim that it may be safer, easier and cheaper than lethal injection.

The order came after Miller sued the commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections, the state attorney general and its director, alleging that corrections officials were moving to execute him by lethal injection after he lost the paperwork he decided to kill by inhaling nitrogen gas. .

Miller’s complaint said failure to comply with his request violated his constitutional rights.

State officials — who said Miller had made no such choice and had no record of his preference — said in court filings that they were unwilling to use nitrogen hypoxia, which Alabama approved as an alternative method of execution in 2018.

The department had “completed many of the preparations necessary to carry out executions by hypoxia in nitrogen,” but its protocol “was not yet complete,” he told CNN in a statement last week. “Once the nitrogen hypoxia protocol is completed, (department) personnel will need sufficient time to be thoroughly trained using this method before performing an execution.”

SCOTUS vacated the stay of execution

State officials appealed the district judge’s order, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to proceed with Miller’s execution by lethal injection.

The Eleventh Circuit upheld the lower court’s order, writing in a 32-page ruling that the district court found “it is highly probable that Mr. Miller filed his election form on time, even though the State claims he does not have a physical record of a form.”

“The State does not challenge this finding of fact, and has completely failed to argue (much less show) that it will suffer irreparable harm,” the order said.
State officials appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in an order Thursday night that the execution could go forward.
The claims of those defending executions by nitrogen gas may be attractive given states’ ongoing problems obtaining lethal injection drugs and recent executions that have failed because an inmate suffered disproportionately or the process deviated from prescribed protocol by officials.

But critics and experts reject those arguments, saying there is no evidence that execution by nitrogen hypoxia would adhere to constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment of prisoners because it has never been used and cannot be ethically tested.

But inmates like Miller are opting for the unproven method because of concerns about the pain they may experience during the lethal injection, Robert Dunham of the Death Penalty Information Center told CNN: “They’re opting for a method they don’t expect. Be a torturer sure to be torturous.” in front of a method they know”.