Lawyer Claims Aborted Execution Attempt Was ‘Torture’

February 25, 2018 Updated: February 25, 2018

The lawyer for a death row inmate who was subjected to an aborted execution last week said that a doctor will examine him, after he said the execution was “botched,” NBC News reported.

Doyle Lee Hamm, convicted for the 1987 murder of a hotel clerk in Alabama, was slated to undergo lethal injection. Police officials called off the execution because they didn’t have enough time to carry it out before the death warrant expired.

“I wouldn’t necessarily characterize what we had tonight as a problem,” Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn told NBC. He said that last-minute appeals caused the delay.

Hamm’s attorney, however, contends that the aborted execution was botched. He said that a team jabbed his legs with needles to find a usable vein.

Lawyer Bernard Harcourt, his lawyer, said that the team tried to place a central line IV into a larger vein. “Multiple times, they tried to insert a catheter into Doyle Hamm’s right groin, causing severe bleeding and pain,” Harcourt wrote.

He said Hamm was bruised and limping when he saw him.

“This went beyond ghoulish justice and cruel and unusual punishment,” Harcourt, a Columbia Law professor, added in the statement. “It was torture.”

In other filings, lawyers for Hamm said he has terminal cancer and a history on intravenous drug use that has severely compromised veins, Reuters reported. They said Alabama was crafting a specialized execution protocol that was being rushed through, increasing the chances of a flawed procedure.

The plan called for the insertion of intravenous catheters into Hamm’s leg or central vein, legal papers showed.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the execution to proceed, but in a dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote, “That method of execution, although it fits within the compass of the State’s execution protocol, has, by all accounts before us, never been tried before in Alabama.”

In Florida, which held an execution on Thursday, convicted murderer Eric Branch let out a scream, yelling “murderers,” and thrashed on the death chamber gurney shortly after the lethal injection started, media witnesses said.

He eventually died and the Department of Corrections said there was no indication of problems with the lethal injection procedure.

Reuters contributed to this report.

 

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