Federal judge blocks Alabama execution of Matthew Reeves

Birmingham, Ala. (WIAT) – A federal judge has issued an order effectively halting the execution of Matthew Reeves, scheduled for January 27.

In a 37-page ruling issued Friday, U.S. District Court Judge R. Austin Huffaker accepted Reeves’ motion to block his execution “by any means other than that nitrous oxygen deficiency method”. State officials said as recently as October 2021 that there is not yet a functional procedure for executing prisoners by nitrogen asphyxiation.

Reeves, who was convicted of killing Willie Johnson in 1996, claims in his lawsuit that the state violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it failed to help him understand a form consciousness may allow him to choose to participate in an execution by suffocation with nitrogen.

“Reeves has shown a significant likelihood of success based on his ADA claim and the stock in his favor,” Huffaker wrote in the order Friday. “Reeves has thus established his right to a preliminary order preventing the ADOC from executing him by any means other than nitrogen hypoxia before his ADA claim can be determined based on the its worth.”

Huffaker notes that prison officials have “found that Reeves has a high or low 60s IQ score in his 70s, below average mental performance, and has been found to be functionally illiterate for just two years.” months before giving him the voting form and hoping he understands. and use it without accommodation. “

An execution by suffocation using nitrogen gas, which involves replacing the oxygen needed for breathing with nitrogen gas, has never been performed in the United States. Execution using nitrogen asphyxiation was approved by the Alabama Legislature in 2018. Oklahoma and Mississippi are the only other states that have authorized it.

CBS 42 has reached out to the Alabama Attorney General’s Office to inquire about the possibility of appealing Friday’s decision but has yet to receive a response.

https://www.westernslopenow.com/news/around-the-nation/federal-judge-blocks-alabama-execution-of-matthew-reeves/ Federal judge blocks Alabama execution of Matthew Reeves

Emma Bowman

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