Alabama is asking a judge to keep his execution secret

The state of Alabama is asking a federal judge to withhold certain information about what happened during the botched execution of Alan Miller last month.

US Judge R. Austin Huffaker Jr. for the Middle District of Alabama last week ordered the state to produce documents related to the attempted execution by Thursday — information sought by Miller’s lawyers in a federal lawsuit.

But the Alabama attorney general’s office asked Huffaker on Thursday to first issue an order to prevent certain information they would provide in the case from being released.

Specifically, according to its request, the state wants to protect the confidentiality of current and former members of the execution team that Miller’s lawyers want to depose and allow the execution team to be identified by pseudonyms instead. The state is also requesting that the identities of individuals or companies that provide execution-related materials and supplies to the state prison system be kept confidential, as well as security information in the Alabama Department of Corrections’ implementation protocol.

If the members of the execution team were identified, they could resign from the team rather than face “harassment, violence, threats or unwanted attention from the media, activists and the public,” according to an affidavit by Terry Raybon, a warden at the William C Correctional Facility .Holman, where executions take place. It would be difficult to replace members of the implementation team, he said.

Miller’s lawyers also previously received a redacted version of the state’s execution protocol, but if the unredacted version was provided, “it could be used to track the location of personnel before, during and after the execution, or it could be used to identify people involved in the execution,” he argues Attorney General.

Publishing the list of suppliers would also “unreasonably burden not only the supplier and its employees, exposing them to the risk of harm, violence or harassment, but would also create an unreasonable burden by making it difficult for the state to obtain the necessary supplies, or equipment necessary to carry out the foreclosure,” the state argues.

A judge previously ordered the Alabama Department of Corrections to preserve all evidence and communications from the botched execution.

Holman kept equipment used to prepare Miller for his execution on Sept. 22, 2022, including a gurney, Raybon said in his affidavit. Previous versions of its implementation protocol have been submitted in court cases in the past, but with redacted security information, the affidavit also said.

Huffaker late Thursday afternoon gave Miller’s attorneys until Nov. 1 to respond to the state’s request.

Miller, was scheduled to be executed Sept. 22 by the state of Alabama for his Aug. 5, 1999, shooting that left three men dead at two Shelby County businesses. But the execution by lethal injection was called off minutes before midnight, when the state’s death sentence was due to expire.

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution to proceed around 9:00 p.m. Miller’s execution was called off at approximately 11:30 p.m. that night because his veins could not be accessed within the time limits of the execution protocol, Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner John Hamm said that night.

The Alabama Attorney General’s Office asked the Alabama Supreme Court to set another date for Miller’s execution, but Miller’s attorneys asked the state Supreme Court to deny or delay the motion until Miller’s federal lawsuit is resolved.

Read more: Alan Miller claims Alabama prison staff poked him for 90 minutes for vein in botched execution

Miller’s filing states that the state “subjected Alan Miller to the terrifying experience of being strapped to a gurney for several hours, jabbed with needles all over his body by a group of men who would not identify whether he had any medical records and were unsure whether they would live or die until the moment his death sentence expires.”

“Miller does not maintain that he is innocent of the crimes for which he was convicted, nor does he challenge the validity of his death sentence. Rather, Miller is simply asking that the state of Alabama follow its own law … and execute it in accordance with its timely election of nitrogen hypoxia,” Miller’s legal team argued.

State legislation added a new option for execution, nitrogen asphyxiation, although that method has not yet been used. Miller requests this instead of lethal injection. He says he signed up to be executed by nitrogen hypoxia during the 30-day window, but the state says he didn’t.

“The state rushed to request a second execution, having botched it badly the first time,” Miller’s lawyers argued.


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