- Associated Press - Friday, October 21, 2016

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - An Alabama inmate has asked an appellate court to stay his execution until it rules on his challenge to the state’s lethal injection process.

Lawyers for Tommy Arthur asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday to stay his execution scheduled for Nov. 3. Arthur, 74, is scheduled to be put to death for the 1982 murder-for-hire of Muscle Shoals businessman Troy Wicker.

A federal judge in July dismissed Arthur’s challenge that Alabama’s lethal injection procedure causes unconstitutional pain and suffering. His attorneys appealed, arguing the judge prematurely dismissed the case after misapplying a requirement for inmates to name an alternate execution method. The appellate court indicated it will make a decision quickly, but Arthur’s attorneys said the stay was needed out of an abundance of caution because of the looming execution date.

“Absent this court’s intervention, Mr. Arthur will soon be executed without having been afforded the chance to prove that Alabama’s method of execution is highly likely to subject him to agonizing pain,” lawyers for Arthur wrote in the appeal filed last month.

The U.S. Supreme Court requires inmates challenging death penalty procedure to name a plausible execution alternative. Arthur suggested a firing squad and another lethal injection drug. The judge said Arthur had not identified a source for alternate drugs and a firing squad wasn’t explicitly named as an allowed form of execution in Alabama law.

Arthur’s lawyers have argued that Alabama used an ineffective sedative, has not always administered a consciousness test and Arthur’s unique medical issues make it more likely that he will feel pain. Lawyers for the state argued Alabama’s lethal injection procedure is virtually identical to Oklahoma’s process, which has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Arthur had been scheduled for execution on six previous occasions, but each time was given court-issued reprieves. The state this summer asked for an expedited execution date after the judge dismissed Arthur’s latest challenge.

Arthur’s appeal is the latest play in his ongoing game to delay his execution,” lawyers for the Alabama attorney general wrote in their Oct. 11 response filed with the appellate court.

Alabama is seeking to resume executions after a more-than-two-year lull as the state faced a scarcity of lethal injection drugs and ongoing litigation over the death penalty.

The state executed Christopher Eugene Brooks in January for the 1993 rape and beating death of a woman. It was the state’s first execution since 2013.

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