Death penalty researchers call 2022 ‘year of botched executions’

In Nevada, a state that hasn’t executed anyone since 2006, the state pardons board will next week discuss whether to commute the death sentences of all 65 people on Nevada death row to life in prison.

Of the 18 executions this year, Texas and Oklahoma each carried out five, followed by Arizona with three and Alabama with two. Oklahoma made headlines earlier this year when it announced it would seek to execute 25 inmates over 29 months. Executions in Oklahoma were suspended in 2015 over failed executions and a lawsuit was filed over a drug used in lethal injections, but have since resumed.

Friday’s report cited problems with executions in several states. In Arizona, prison officials struggled to find the vein of a man who has long claimed to have killed an 8-year-old girl innocently, and only after the man himself suggested they tried to use his hand instead.

In Tennessee, the governor suspended all executions until next year due to the state’s failure to properly test lethal injection drugs, news that led to a halt to an execution about an hour before an inmate was executed.

In South Carolina, where officials have been looking for alternatives after having problems finding lethal injections, a judge blocked the state from moving forward with death squads or electric chair executions, arguing the methods were cruel and unusual.

Still, perhaps no state has as many high-profile problems as Alabama.

In issuing a temporary moratorium on executions last month, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said she did not believe prison or law enforcement officials were at fault for the botched attempts. Instead, Ms. Ivey, a Republican, put the blame on lawyers who appealed for inmates as their execution dates approached, saying they did not allow prison officials enough time to carry out executions before their warrants expired.

Defense attorneys bristled at the claims, saying their appeals often raise significant new issues and that, if executed properly, the state should have time to carry out the death penalty.

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