Supreme Court Clears Way for Melson Execution

Jun 7, 2017

Alabama death row inmate Robert Melson
Credit ADOC

The U.S. Supreme Court has vacated a stay on the scheduled execution of Alabama death row inmate Robert Melson.

The nation’s highest court decided 6 to 3 yesterday that Melson’s execution could go forward even as he and other death row inmates challenge the state’s lethal injection procedures as unconstitutional.

They argue that the sedative Alabama uses to begin its lethal injections, midazolam, is ineffective, and that some inmates haven’t been fully unconscious when other lethal injection drugs work to stop the lungs and heart.

Alabama attorney general Steve Marshall argues the use of midazolam has already been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in a decision involving Oklahoma. He says the court has already let three other executions in Alabama proceed using the drug, including that of Tommy Arthur last month.

Melson is scheduled to be executed tomorrow for the killing of three Gadsden restaurant employees during a 1994 robbery.