On December 8th this year, Alabama inmate Ronald Smith will be executed by a never-been-used-before drug.
The death row inmate suggested several alternative ways to be put to death next month. The Alabama Department of Corrections says it’s willing to try one of them.
On Wednesday, a federal judge asked inmate Ronald Smith to decide by next week if he will agree, providing Smith consents the alternative drug suggested could be used to end his life.
Smith is among a group of Alabama death row inmates who have been challenging Alabama’s three-drug lethal injection protocol for executions.
Alabama’s current lethal injection protocol calls for three drugs to be administered. The first is midazolam: A controversial sedative used in several botched executions. The second is a drug that paralyzes the inmate. And the third is a drug that stops the heart; it is undisputed that the drug causes severe pain to a conscious person.
Death row inmates in Alabama have argued that the risk of pain is too high to use the third drug, and offered up a few different ways they could be killed. If death row inmates want to challenge their method of execution, the Supreme Court has said they have to propose better alternatives.
One of the options they proposed is to use a single dose of midazolam, the controversial sedative, and no other drugs. In previous executions throughout the United States, midazolam has always been paired with other execution drugs.
A “one-drug protocol using midazolam has never been tested, and thus, the ADOC reserves the right to administer further doses of midazolam as required.”