The Alabama Supreme Court today stayed the execution of Carey Grayson, which was scheduled for this Thursday, April 12. The stay comes after a federal appeals court blocked Tommy Arthur’s execution last month to consider claims that the way lethal injections are carried out in Alabama violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Concerns about the legality of Alabama’s method of executing prisoners by lethal injection have arisen due to recent changes in the way Alabama executes people, the failure of prison personnel to follow regular procedures in carrying out lethal injections, and Alabama’s policy of keeping information about its lethal injection procedure secret.
On March 21, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit granted Tommy Arthur’s motion to stay his execution, and ordered a lower federal court to consider these claims.
Last year, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals refused to even consider any of Mr. Grayson’s arguments by denying him permission to appeal. Mr. Grayson challenged the reliability of his death sentence because his lawyers failed to adequately investigate in preparation for the penalty phase of his capital trial. They failed to find and present to the sentencing judge and jury information about Mr. Grayson’s very tragic background, including that he was severely neglected by his parents, went hungry for years after his mother died when he was 12, developed mental illness as a result of trauma, and the fact that he was homeless at age 15.
The Alabama Supreme Court stayed Mr. Grayson’s execution pending further orders from the court.