Yellow Mama' could be history
Published 11:02 am Monday, April 15, 2002
By By Robbie Byrd, News Editor
If the Alabama Legislature has its way, changes could be in store for Hollman Federal Prison in Atmore.
According to reports by the Associated Press, the legislature passed a bill Thursday that would change the primary method of execution in the state of Alabama from electrocution to lethal injection, leaving Nebraska as the only state with the electric chair as its primary method of execution.
The bill states that all executions following July 1 be administered by lethal injection, unless the inmate requests otherwise.
Officials with the governor's office said that Gov. Don Siegelman supports the bill, but will need time to research it before giving it his final OK.
Siegelman, in a February interview, said that he favored lethal injection over electrocution, but believed that electrocution was still a legal means of execution.
"It is my contention that the electric chair as a means of execution is constitutional," Siegelman. "My concern is not whether the sentence is carried out by lethal injection or electrocution, but that it is carried out in a timely manner."
Siegelman said in February he wants lethal injection legalized in Alabama, but only as a fallback if the courts outlaw the electric chair.
The bill passed through the state Senate earlier this year. The state House also approved the bill with an 86-0 vote.
Over the last 10 years, several inmates have challenged the constitutionality of the electric chair as a means to either overturn the sentence or prolong the appeals process.
Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor said that he believes the legislation will help expidite the process of carrying out death sentences.
''This legislation will remove one of the many filings that clog the courts to delay justice,'' Pryor said.
Alabama has used the electric chair