Section 15-18-82.1

Method of execution; election of execution by electrocution; constitutionality.

(a) A death sentence shall be executed by lethal injection, unless the person sentenced to death affirmatively elects to be executed by electrocution. The sentence shall be executed pursuant to Section 15-18-82.

(b) A person convicted and sentenced to death for a capital crime at any time shall have one opportunity to elect that his or her death sentence be executed by electrocution. The election for death by electrocution is waived unless it is personally made by the person in writing and delivered to the warden of the correctional facility within 30 days after the certificate of judgment pursuant to a decision by the Alabama Supreme Court affirming the sentence of death or, if a certificate of judgment is issued before July 1, 2002, the election must be made and delivered to the warden within 30 days after July 1, 2002. If a warrant of execution is pending on July 1, 2002, or if a warrant is issued within 30 days after July 1, 2002, the person sentenced to death who is the subject of the warrant shall waive election of electrocution as the method of execution unless a written election signed by the person is submitted to the warden of the correctional facility no later than 48 hours after a new date for execution of the death sentence is set.

(c) If electrocution or lethal injection is held to be unconstitutional by the Alabama Supreme Court under the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, or held to be unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court under the United States Constitution, or if the United States Supreme Court declines to review any judgment holding a method of execution to be unconstitutional under the United States Constitution made by the Alabama Supreme Court or the United States Court of Appeals that has jurisdiction over Alabama, all persons sentenced to death for a capital crime shall be executed by any constitutional method of execution.

(d) The provisions of the opinion and all points of law decided by the United States Supreme Court in Malloy v. South Carolina, 237 U.S. 180 (1915), finding that the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution is not violated by a legislatively enacted change in the method of execution for a sentence of death validly imposed for previously committed capital murders, are adopted by the Legislature as the law of this state.

(e) A change in the method of execution shall not increase the punishment or modify the penalty of death for capital murder. Any legislative change to the method of execution for the crime of capital murder shall not violate Section 22 of Article I of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901.

(f) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a person authorized by state law to prescribe medication and designated by the Department of Corrections may prescribe the drug or drugs necessary to compound a lethal injection. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a person authorized by state law to prepare, compound, or dispense medication and designated by the Department of Corrections may prepare, compound, or dispense a lethal injection. For purposes of this section, prescription, preparation, compounding, dispensing, and administration of a lethal injection shall not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing, or pharmacy.

(g) The policies and procedures of the Department of Corrections for execution of persons sentenced to death shall be exempt from the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act, Chapter 22 of Title 41.

(h) No sentence of death shall be reduced as a result of a determination that a method of execution is declared unconstitutional under the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, or the Constitution of the United States. In any case in which an execution method is declared unconstitutional, the death sentence shall remain in force until the sentence can be lawfully executed by any valid method of execution.

(i) Nothing contained in this section is intended to require any physician, nurse, pharmacist, or employee of the Department of Corrections or any other person to assist in any aspect of an execution which is contrary to the person's moral or ethical beliefs.

(Act 2002-492, p. 1243, §1.)