Alabama Groups Praise Moratorium on Executions, Call for Independent Agency Review

MONTGOMERY, Ala — Gov. Kay Ivey is ordering a pause on executions in the state and a thorough review of the process in light of the past two failed attempts.

In a statement, Ivey asked Attorney General Steve Marshall not to set dates for two current executions and all future ones until a “top-down” review is complete.

“I simply cannot, in good conscience, bring another victim’s family to Holman seeking justice and closure, until I am satisfied that we can carry out the legal sentence,” Ivey said. .

Attorney General Marshall’s spokesman said he read the governor’s comments with interest and would have more to say at a later date.

Mike Nicholson, Alabama Arise policy analyst, says it’s a good first step, and he hopes it will open the door to further needed reforms.

“I would hate for it to be the only step because we have a long way to go,” Nicholson said.

The state’s recent failed attempts to carry out executions have prompted calls for more transparency from the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson helps provide legal assistance to death row inmates. He says the news was a relief to many, but he doesn’t think ADOC should conduct the review on its own.

“We have seen these tragic and torturous procedures. I commend them for taking a step back, but I don’t think it will do any better if they are not ready to recognize that they need help and that they need the intervention of others people,” Stevenson said.

ACLU Alabama lead counsel Alison Mollman praised Ivey’s decision, but like Stevenson, she would like to see an outside party lead the review.

“To get to the heart of what’s going on, you need independent investigators,” Mollman said.

According to the Equal Justice Initiative, Alabama has executed 70 people since 1976. This is the first time the governor has stopped the practice.

ADOC Commissioner John Hamm said in a statement that the department is fully committed to this review and confident it can do it right.


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