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Alabama settles with inmate after botched execution attempt

(Reuters) - Alabama has reached a settlement with an inmate suffering from terminal cancer and severely compromised veins who survived an execution attempt last month when a lethal injection had to be aborted, according to court documents.

FILE PHOTO: Death row inmate Doyle Hamm appears in a booking photo provided by the Alabama Department of Corrections, February 23, 2018. Alabama Department of Corrections/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

The agreement was reached in a civil lawsuit brought by convicted murderer Doyle Hamm against the state, court papers filed on Monday showed. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Officials from the Alabama Department of Corrections and the attorney general’s office have not responded to numerous requests to discuss the case.

Hamm’s lawsuit had sought to remove him from death row and said another attempt to execute him would be unlawful.

Columbia Law School Professor Bernard Harcourt, a lawyer for Hamm, would not comment on details of the agreement.

The botched execution prompted a federal court review of Alabama’s death chamber protocols. It came after flawed executions in Oklahoma and Arizona led to those states putting capital punishment on hold while new procedures were drawn up.

On Feb. 22, two teams of death chamber medical personnel tried for about 2-1/2 hours to place an intravenous line in Hamm’s groin area and in an area between his knees and feet, a medical report filed in court showed. After the execution attempt, Hamm had at least 12 puncture wounds. [L8N1QF0NF]

“What resulted was a prolonged, exceedingly painful, bloody, and botched attempt to execute Doyle Hamm through his lower extremities and right groin,” the court papers said.

Hamm’s lawyers had tried for months to halt the execution, arguing in court filings that as a result of his cancer, cancer treatment, and medical history, any attempt to place an IV line for a lethal injection would likely fail and could violate a constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

Alabama had said in court filings that it could manage the procedure.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz