The Police NewsBirmingham, Ala.
Alabama Execution of Joe Nathan James Marred by Failures to Set IV Line, Embarrassing Dress-Code Controversy, and Disrespect of Victim’s Family
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.