A Lawsuit Challenges Upcoming Nitrogen Gas Execution

(NewsSpace.com) – There’s been a lot of controversy around capital punishment in recent years, including the failure of and shortages of certain drugs involved in lethal injection. Some states, in a bid to move forward with executions, have considered a new method: nitrogen hypoxia. However, the introduction of this method has also hit roadblocks, as many contest its safety. One spiritual adviser has now filed a lawsuit in Alabama to this effect.

The Reverend Jeff Hood plans to administer last rites to Kenneth Eugene Smith, who is scheduled to be executed on January 25 by nitrogen hypoxia, the first of its kind in the United States. However, in a lawsuit filed against the state of Alabama, Hood notes that the facility asked him to sign a waiver acknowledging that there are risks involved and he must remain three feet away from Smith, who will be wearing a gas mask.

In a phone interview, Hood says he believes the need to sign a release “speaks to the fact that they’re already concerned that things could go wrong,” according to Fox News. The gas mask Smith will wear will only administer nitrogen, which will suffocate him in a painless manner. However, there are things that could potentially go wrong, such as overpressure, or the hose supplying the nitrogen to the mask could detach, both of which would cause the displacement of oxygen surrounding the inmate.

There’s another issue, too. The lawsuit claims that by mandating Hood remain three feet away from Smith, it will “deny a prisoner his chosen spiritual advisor’s touch at the most critical juncture of his life: death.” Those last rites and prayers often touch the people they’re praying for, and the restrictions would prevent Hood from doing so, a move that he says is a violation of religious liberty.

The Alabama Department of Corrections, citing ongoing legal action, refused to comment on the contents of the form.

Copyright 2023, NewsSpace.com