Bloomberg Law’s® extensive network of reporters and editors helps subscribers to stay ahead of legal
Alabama apparently dropped its bid to execute cancer-stricken killer Doyle Lee Hamm after years of legal wrangling and a botched attempt to carry out his death sentence.
Hamm and the state moved jointly March 26 to resolve litigation surrounding his impending execution and the constitutional claims he raised against it.
“This is a great relief to Doyle Hamm,” his longtime attorney Bernard Harcourt of Columbia Law School said in a statement on the school’s website. “It comes after lengthy, fruitful discussions with the Alabama Attorney General’s office.”
The settlement prevents “any further execution attempts,” according to a March 26 post, attributed to Harcourt, on the school’s site devoted the case.
In response to requests from Bloomberg Law, neither Harcourt nor the state would elaborate further.
“The State of Alabama can confirm that the two parties have jointly filed a notice to voluntarily dismiss Doyle Hamm’s federal lawsuit,” public information manager Joy Patterson of the state attorney general’s office said.
“I can just confirm the joint voluntary dismissal,” Harcourt said.
But despite the parties’ reticence to discuss the state’s execution plans, capital defense expert Eric M. Freedman pointed to American Bar Association guidelines that caution attorneys against entering into agreements that don’t save their clients from the ultimate punishment.
So “the obvious implication” of the settlement is that Alabama has agreed not to seek execution, Freedman, a professor at Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., told Bloomberg Law.
“It’s inconceivable that Hamm’s lawyer would have agreed to any settlement which did not contain that condition,” Freedman said.
Hamm was convicted of robbery-murder and sentenced to death in 1987. He developed lymphatic cancer and carcinoma while on death row.
After a divided U.S. Supreme Court denied his execution stay Feb. 22, the state tried that night, unsuccessfully, to execute him.
The reason it didn’t work was because of Hamm’s health issues, he said.
Executioners wouldn’t be able to access his veins to perform the state’s preferred method of lethal injection, he argued in court filings leading up to the attempt.
Or at least they couldn’t do so easily.
It was a “prolonged, exceedingly painful, bloody, and botched attempt,” Harcourt said on Hamm’s behalf in a March 5 filing, reflecting on the incident and arguing against another.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jordan S. Rubin in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: C. Reilly Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2018 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)