Alabama AG Marshall: No moratorium on capital punishment

Alabama Attorney Gen. Steve Marshall (file photo)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama Attorney Gen. Steve Marshall at a press conference on Monday, Dec. 5, announced he will not honor the request of Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to halt executions until a “top to bottom review” is performed on the State’s execution procedures. Ivey’s request came after two failed executions by the Alabama Department of Corrections on Sept. 22, 2022, and Nov. 17, 2022. 

Marshall stated he personally witnessed “the depravity of those who take the life of another” at various crime scenes and visited with families after having lost loved ones. He said he has advocated for criminals to be put on death row. 

“Insofar as I and my office is concerned, there is no moratorium, nor will there be, on capital punishment in Alabama,” he said.  

Marshall noted that the failed execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith on Nov. 17, 2022, was “not a travesty of justice for Kenny Smith, the twice convicted murderer who was scheduled to be executed that day, but it was for Elizabeth Sennett and for the members of her family.” Sennett was the victim of a murder-for-hire plot by her husband Charles Sennett, a Sheffield Church of Christ pastor, carried out by Smith and two others. 

The attempted execution of Alan Miller on Sept. 22, 2022, was called off due to the inability of prison officials to access his veins. On Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, Smith’s execution was halted for the same reason. 

Ivey requested the pending motions to reschedule the execution dates for two death row inmates be withdrawn by Marshall and that additional execution dates be held until a review of the Department of Justice’s execution protocols was performed. 

Marshall acknowledged the governor’s request and stated he has not spoken with her about it. 

In November, Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner John Hamm stated, “I agree with Governor Ivey that we have to get this right for the victims’ sake. Everything is on the table – from our legal strategy in dealing with last-minute appeals, to how we train and prepare, to the order and timing of events on execution day, to the personnel and equipment involved. The Alabama Department of Corrections is fully committed to this effort and confident that we can get this done right.” 

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