‘Justice delayed is justice denied,’ Alabama AG says on execution halt

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 10:24 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 5, 2022 at 10:20 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Attorney General Steve Marshall provided an update on the status of executions following a halt issued by Gov. Kay Ivey in November.

“As far as I and my office are concerned, there is no moratorium, nor will there be, on capital punishment in Alabama,” Marshall said.

Following the state’s third failed lethal injection execution attempt in November, the governor ordered a stop to executions across the state and for a review of the execution process. Ivey said the halt was made “for the sake of the victims and their families.”

Marshall said what happened during the state’s most recent failed execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith was a travesty, but not for Smith.

“Thirty-five years. That’s how long Elizabeth Sennett’s family has waited for justice to occur,” Marshall said. “To give some perspective, almost half of Alabama’s population wasn’t even born when this malicious crime was committed.”

Marshall reiterated Ivey’s sentiments saying, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” He added that the delay rests at the feet of the inmate and their lawyers, not with the state.

“We cannot repeat the result of what occurred on Nov. 17th, when my office worked tirelessly to attain victories before both the Alabama Supreme Court as well as the United States Supreme Court,” Marshall said. “There’s absolutely no reason why other capital cases should be similarly postponed.”

What the execution process review will look like, how long it will take and why the Alabama Department of Corrections will conduct the review while under federal investigation itself have yet to be answered.

Marshall said he has not spoken to the governor directly but intends to have a conversation with her. He added that the department would not seek an execution date unless it was confident that it would be carried out.

The last completed execution in the state took place in July, but only after a three-hour delay caused by the same issues seen in the most recent failed attempt.

Alabama AG Steve Marshall discusses the state's halt to executions, saying there is no moratorium and will not be.

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