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Alabama Execution of Joe Nathan James Marred by Failures to Set IV Line, Embarrassing Dress-Code Controversy, and Disrespect of Victim’s Family
Birmingham, Ala.
   
 
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Alabama put Joe Nathan James, Jr. to death on July 28, 2022 against the wish­es of his victim’s fam­i­ly in an exe­cu­tion marred by an hours-long fail­ure to set a lethal-injec­tion intra­venous line and an embar­rass­ing dress-code con­tro­ver­sy in which a cor­rec­tions offi­cial told a female reporter she would not be able to wit­ness the exe­cu­tion because her skirt was too short and she was wear­ing open-toed shoes and sub­ject­ed anoth­er female reporter to a cloth­ing inspection. 

The daugh­ters and broth­er of Faith Hall had asked Governor Kay Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall to stop the exe­cu­tion, say­ing it would fur­ther vic­tim­ize the fam­i­ly. When their request was denied, the Halls released a state­ment say­ing, We pray that God allows us to find heal­ing after today and that one day our crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem will lis­ten to the cries of fam­i­lies like ours even if it goes against what the state wish­es. Our voic­es mat­ter and so does the life of Mr. Joe Nathan James, Jr.”

The exe­cu­tion was sched­uled to start at 6:00 p.m. Central time, but for rea­sons ADOC refused to explain it was delayed for three hours. After hours of cryp­tic eva­sions of reporters’ ques­tions about the delay, ADOC issued a state­ment oblique­ly indi­cat­ing that the exe­cu­tion team had expe­ri­enced trou­bles set­ting the IV-line. As Commissioner John Hamm stat­ed last night, when car­ry­ing out the ulti­mate pun­ish­ment, we have pro­to­cols that lay out a very delib­er­ate process to make sure the court’s order is car­ried out cor­rect­ly,” the state­ment said. ADOC’s exe­cu­tion team strict­ly fol­lowed the estab­lished pro­to­col. The pro­to­col states that if the veins are such that intra­venous access can­not be pro­vid­ed, the team will per­form a cen­tral line pro­ce­dure. Fortunately, this was not nec­es­sary and with ade­quate time, intra­venous access was established.”

The exe­cu­tion put Alabama in the inter­na­tion­al spot­light when an ADOC cor­rec­tions offi­cial informed award-win­ning AL​.com reporter Ivana Hrynkiw that she could not enter the prison to wit­ness the exe­cu­tion because a skirt that she had worn while wit­ness­ing three pre­vi­ous exe­cu­tions was too short.” As report­ed in news­pa­pers in England and New Zealand, a male cam­era­man from a dif­fer­ent media out­let pro­vid­ed Hrynkiw a pair of fish­ing waders with sus­penders, after which the cor­rec­tions offi­cial said she could not wear open-toed shoes in the facil­i­ty because they were too reveal­ing.” Hrynkiw then retrieved a pair of ten­nis shoes from her car. The cor­rec­tions offi­cial also sub­ject­ed vet­er­an Associated Press reporter Kim Chandler to a cloth­ing inspec­tion before deem­ing her attire acceptable.

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