Alabama plans to shift its execution method to nitrogen gas following issues with previous lethal injections. However, a spiritual adviser helping individuals on death row will take legal action against this proposed method.
In a lawsuit filed recently, the adviser highlighted concerns about nitrogen gas. Thus, he cited its distressing effects and potential harm to bystanders. Further, he talked about the rejection of this method even by veterinarians due to safety apprehensions.
The legal challenge aims to prevent the adoption of nitrogen gas for executions. They have emphasized safety concerns for both those being executed and others present during the process.
Therefore, this lawsuit filed by Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Hood argues that using a mask to administer pure nitrogen gas during an execution. This could lead to suffocation and could endanger his life.
This, he contends, obstructs his ability to offer spiritual guidance to the inmate, Kenneth Eugene Smith.
As an opponent of capital punishment collaborating with Death Penalty Action, Hood alleges that the state’s adoption of nitrogen hypoxia has substantial risks to his safety.
He asserts that this execution method violates not only his religious freedoms but also those of Mr. Smith. States are changing execution methods due to a shortage of lethal injection drugs. Alabama plans to use nitrogen gas on Jan. 25, 2024, for the first time.
This method makes the person unconscious by depriving oxygen. Critics worry about its safety for everyone involved.
Thus, the state of Alabama faced issues with executions. Four since 2018 went wrong, leaving inmates alive, needing redo.
Kenneth Eugene Smith, convicted in 1996 for a murder-for-hire, faced a failed execution in Nov. 2022. He reported intense pain from repeated attempts during the lethal injection process.