Price v. Commissioner, Alabama Department of Corrections, No. 19-11268 (11th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment as well as its denial of plaintiff's original and renewed motions for preliminary injunction. The court also denied plaintiff's motion for a stay of execution because he failed to show a substantial likelihood of success with respect to either his Fourteenth Amendment equal-protection claim or his Eighth Amendment method-of-execution claim.
In regard to the Fourteenth Amendment claim, the state did not violate his right to equal protection by not permitting him to elect nitrogen hypoxia as a method of execution. In this case, plaintiff had the same opportunity as every other inmate to elect nitrogen hypoxia, but he did not timely choose that method of execution. The court held that a rational basis exists for the thirty-day rule—the efficient and orderly use of state resources in planning and preparing for executions, and plaintiff failed to negate this rational basis for the thirty-day election requirement. In regard to the Eighth Amendment claim, although plaintiff has shown that nitrogen hypoxia is an available alternative method of execution that is feasible and readily implemented, he has not established a substantial likelihood that he would be able to show that nitrogen hypoxia significantly reduces a substantial risk of pain when compared to the three-drug protocol.