ALABAMA (USA): GOV. KAY IVEY SIGNS BILL AUTHORIZING NITROGEN EXECUTIONS
March 22, 2018:
Gov. Kay Ivey Thursday signed legislation that would allow a condemned inmate to choose death by nitrogen hypoxia, a method never used in an execution. (Source: Montgomery Advertiser, Associated Press, 22/03/2018)
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose, received final approval from the Alabama Legislature Tuesday night.
Alabama becomes the third state to make execution by nitrogen a method of execution, though lethal injection will remain the primary method of capital punishment.
Supporters say nitrogen hypoxia - in which oxygen is removed from a sealed area - could provide a more peaceful method of execution.
But how that would be accomplished is unknown.
Nitrogen hypoxia has never been used in capital punishment in the United States, and the state would have to determine the method of how the sentence would be carried out. The bill goes into effect this summer.
Oklahoma recently made nitrogen hypoxia its primary method of execution. Mississippi offers it as an alternative. Nitrogen hypoxia is used in animal euthanasia, though the American Veterinary Medical Association only recommends the use of nitrogen hypoxia on small creatures like birds, recommends the use of a sedative when the method is used on larger animals.
Alabama has used lethal injection as its primary method of execution since 2002.
Inmates have the option to choose death in the electric chair, though in the last 16 years no condemned inmate has done so.