Alabama governor says state will resume executions

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An internal review of Alabama's execution procedures is complete and the state will resume lethal injections, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday.

The governor initiated the review in November after three lethal injections were aborted because of problems with intravenous lines. Alabama Corrections Commissioner John Hamm told Ivey in a letter shared with news outlets that his staff is ready to resume executions.

Hamm said the prison system is adding to the pool of medical professionals, ordered new equipment and has conducted rehearsals. The Alabama Supreme Court, at Ivey's request, last month changed rules to give the state longer to carry out executions by doing away with a midnight deadline.

Ivey told the state’s attorney general that it is “time to resume our duty in carrying out lawful death sentences.”

“Far too many Alabama families have waited for far too long — often for decades — to obtain justice for the loss of a loved one and to obtain closure for themselves," Ivey wrote in a Friday letter to Alabama Attorney Steve Marshall that was also released publicly. "This brief pause in executions was necessary to make sure that we can successfully deliver that justice and that closure.”

Ivey rebuffed requests from faith leaders and attorneys to follow the example of Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and authorize an independent review of the state's execution procedures.

“It is preposterous to believe that the agency responsible for botching multiple executions can responsibly and thoroughly investigate itself and suggest remedies to correct its own behavior,” Alison Mollman, Senior Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama said in a statement before Ivey announced the completion of the review.

Ivey announced a pause on executions in November after a third lethal injection failed. Executioners were unable to get an intravenous line connected to death row inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith within the 100-minute window between the time courts cleared the way and midnight, when the death warrant expired.

Kim Chandler, The Associated Press