ALABAMA (WHNT) — Governor Kay Ivey halted executions and called for a “top-to-bottom” review of the process after another series of failed attempts at lethal injection.

Attorneys for Kenneth Eugene Smith, the man who survived the latest execution attempt on November 16, as well as pro-life advocates are now asking a federal judge to forbid the state from making further attempts to execute him.

“Why is [it] not working, and why is the State of Alabama willing to move forward executions when there’s clearly a problem with the way executions are being conducted,” said Mike Nicholson with Alabama Arise.

According to our news partners at, Smith’s attorneys claim he was strapped to a gurney for several hours and poked with needles five times before being injected with an unknown substance until the state called off the execution.

Advocates with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Alabama and Alabama Arise are calling on the state to abandon all future attempts at executions in Alabama prisons.

“There’s an understanding with federal judges that we can’t just keep doing this with the [Alabama Department of Corrections], which is why the ACLU has been calling on an independent investigator to go forward with the inquiry into the execution processes here,” said Alison Mollman, a representative with Alabama’s ACLU.

Smith was convicted for the 1988 murder of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett, who was hired by her husband. An Alabama jury recommended a life sentence without the possibility of parole, but a trial judge overrode that decision and opted to sentence Smith to death.

At the end of his latest execution date, Smith’s attorneys filed with a federal judge.

“There was another failed attempt, and before that, there was a failed attempt, and before that there was a botched attempt, right? So, three in a row is not good,” Nicholson continued.

Former U.S. Attorney Jay Town told News 19 that the state’s botched executions may be the result of a lack of experience by the person administering the drugs.

“We must look at [whether or not] we have qualified medical personnel performing these executions that’s looking for the best way to input the two IVs into the defendant who’s to be executed,” Town explained. “Those are the questions that must be answered.”

Town continued, “I am constantly amazed at the advocacy groups that are anti-death penalty groups that want… executions to be more efficient.”

“We know we must do executions lawfully and we must try to be as humane as possible about the process itself while at the same time understanding that there is a legal process that will always delay and complicate things,” Town said.

A commissioner with the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) said a review of execution procedures will be wide-reaching. Governor Ivey, citing concerns for victims’ families, says that death sentences are delayed.