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Federal Judge reprimands Alabama AG's office for false information in court


An Alabama death row inmate is a step closer to execution by lethal injection. But, in the process, a federal judge is reprimanding Alabama’s Attorney General’s for giving false information to the court. The issue focuses on the forms inmates fill out to select how they are to be put to death.

Chief U.S. District Judge Emily C. Marks dismissed a lawsuit that argued the state failed to give killer Willie Smith help with his forms under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The death row inmate reportedly has an IQ of 75. Alabama has two types of execution, lethal injection or nitrogen hypoxia. in filling out forms that affected the timing of his execution.

While Smith’s attorneys promise to appeal the ruling, Judge Marks also issued an order formally reprimanding the Office of the Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and Assistant Attorney General Lauren Simpson over false information given to the court. Simpson had previously told the court that the warden of Holman Prison decided to hand out the execution forms. However, the judge noted that Warden Cynthia Stewart told the court three years ago that she was instructed to do so. Despite the gaffe, Judge Marks says the act was probably not malicious.

Willie Smith is scheduled to be executed in late October, by lethal injection, for the 1991 kidnapping and murder of 22-year-old Sharma Ruth Johnson in Birmingham.