Alabama seeks to proceed with execution Thursday
Alabama has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to let it execute an inmate convicted of killing a police officer two decades ago.
The attorney general's office asked justices to lift a stay blocking Thursday's scheduled execution of Torrey Twane McNabb, 40.
A lawyer for McNabb has argued that it would be wrong to carry out the execution over the objections of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has ordered a review of his legal challenge of the state's execution method.
"The State has no protectable interest in an unconstitutional execution," McNabb's attorney John Palombi wrote in a response filed Thursday with the U.S. Supreme Court.
McNabb was convicted in the 1997 shooting death of Montgomery police Officer Anderson Gordon. Prosecutors say McNabb, while fleeing a bail bondsmen, walked up and shot Gordon five times while the officer was sitting in his parked patrol car.
McNabb and several other inmates have challenged the state's use of midazolam at the start of lethal injections, arguing that it violates Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment because the sedative would not reliably render them unconscious before other drugs stopped their lungs and heart.
The 11th Circuit last month said a federal judge prematurely dismissed their lawsuit, and ordered the judge to hold additional proceedings. The judge later stayed McNabb's execution, and an appellate panel upheld the stay on Wednesday.
The attorney general's office argued to justices have allowed multiple executions to proceed using the sedative midazolam and that McNabb presents "nothing new" to justify halting the execution.
"Alabama has already carried out four executions using this protocol. Three of those executed inmates were co-plaintiffs in this case, and their stay requests were denied by both this Court and the Eleventh Circuit," the attorney general's office wrote in the Wednesday night court filing.