Alabama Inmate With Terminal Cancer Scheduled for Execution This Week


Alabama death row inmate Danny Siebert, 53, has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. Although the State of Alabama concedes that Mr. Siebert’s cancer has progressed to the point that he has only months left to live, it is still seeking to execute him on October 25, 2007.

In the wake of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Baze v. Rees on September 25, 2007, to review whether execution by lethal injection complies with the Constitution, states across the country have put executions on hold. A Texas court stayed an execution scheduled for October 2, 2007. The Nevada Supreme Court stayed the execution of William Castillo, who had declined to file any appeals of his own. The Eighth Circuit stayed the execution of Jack Harold Jones; the Arizona Supreme Court stayed the execution of Jeffrey Landrigan; the District Court of Delaware issued an order staying proceedings in a lethal injection challenge; the Attorney General of Oklahoma has asked his state’s supreme court not to schedule any executions pending Baze; and executions are on hold in Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Ohio.

The Governor of Alabama granted a 45-day reprieve to Tommy Arthur, who was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on September 27, 2007, over concerns about the state’s lethal injection protocol. A trial in federal court to determine whether Alabama’s protocol meets constitutional requirements has been set for late November.

Mr. Siebert’s lawyers have filed motions for a stay of execution in state and federal court. Mr. Siebert is now waiting on the courts to decide whether Alabama will be permitted to proceed with the execution of a terminally ill inmate using procedures that have been called into question by the nation’s highest court.