Federal judge nixes condemned Alabama man’s request, allowing state to execute him later this month

Published 10:39 pm Thursday, July 14, 2022

A federal judge ruled that the execution of an Alabama inmate can proceed as scheduled later this month, rejecting the condemned man’s request for a postponement.

Joe Nathan James Jr. is set to be given a lethal injection on July 28 after being convicting of killing his one-time girlfriend, Faith Hall, in Birmingham, almost three decades ago.

James is representing himself in multiple lawsuits challenging the execution plan. He lost on two of those claims this week.

U.S. District Judge Terry F. Moorer on Thursday dismissed one of the lawsuits, saying that James “is simply incorrect” about an argument that his death warrant was not properly issued.

Moorer on Monday rejected James’ request for a preliminary injunction to stop the planned execution from being carried out. James had argued that his constitutional rights of equal protection are being violated because Alabama is not setting execution dates for inmates who selected nitrogen hypoxia as their preferred execution method. Inmates had a brief window to select nitrogen, and James did not. The state has not developed a system for carrying out executions by nitrogen hypoxia,

Moorer said an appellate court has rejected that argument in another case by finding that “inmates who elected nitrogen hypoxia are not similarly situated to inmates who did not so-elect.”

Before an execution there is is typically a flurry of legal filings often filed by volunteer or non-profit lawyers. James is representing himself in the current litigation with hand-written lawsuits and motions mailed from the south Alabama prison where he is housed.