Alabama postpones executions amid Supreme Court review

A view of the state capitol on March 6, 2015 in Montgomery, Ala. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty)
A view of the state capitol on March 6, 2015 in Montgomery, Ala.

Alabama has temporarily stayed its execution while the Supreme Court reviews a drug the state uses for the death penalty.

Following several botched executions in Oklahoma and Georgia, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in late April over the use of the sedative midazolam, which critics say doesn’t stop inmates from experiencing pain during their executions. The Supreme Court will determine whether the execution protocol meets the standard of cruel and unusual punishment as banned by the Constitution. 

RELATED: Execution drug scarcity compounded by industry unwillingness

U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins said Wednesday the state would postpone state-level debate on the issue “in lethal injection cases across the board” until justices issue a decision, the Associated Press reported.

There were no executions scheduled anytime soon – an execution scheduled for Thursday was stayed as a part of an appeal. The Supreme Court agreed to review the lethal injection protocol in January and many states have stayed their executions while they review it. 

Alabama is one of the only states where judges routinely overturn jury decisions to not sentences convicts to jail – a case the Supreme Court may also review soon.