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Ruling could block Alabama lethal injection scheduled for next week

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A federal judge is under order to consider an Alabama's inmate's request to block his execution next week. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a federal judge prematurely dismissed a lawsuit on behalf by death row inmate Willie B. Smith III. Asserts that he was due help under the Americans with Disabilities Act in filling out paperwork related to upcoming execution plans. He is scheduled to receive a lethal injection on Thursday. Federal judges heard arguments over whether Smith had the mental capacity to understand the papers he was signing to set up his planned execution this week. His death sentence is for the 1991 kidnapping and murder of 22-year-old Sharma Ruth Johnson in Birmingham. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in an appeal focused on whether Smith was due assistance under the ADA. A federal judge dismissed Smith's lawsuit last month, but his attorneys appealed.

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