Hunt v. Thomas, et al. (DEATH PENALTY)
ORDERED as follows: 1. This proceeding, including the State's deadline to answer Hunt's complaint, is STAYED generally. 2. Within fourteen (14) days from the Supreme Court's decision in Glossip, the parties shall jointly, if possible, or individually, if not, file a statement or appropriate motion that informs the court of their respective positions on the issues in this case in view of the Glossip decision. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 3/23/2015. (kh, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
WALTER MYERS, et al.,
CASE NO. 2:14-CV-1030-WKW
(WO – Do Not Publish)
This court has seven 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lethal injection lawsuits currently
pending before it, all at various stages of litigation: the instant case (filed October 3,
2014); Arthur v. Myers, et al., 2:11-cv-438-WKW (filed June 8, 2011); Grayson v.
Sharp, et al., 2:12-cv-316-WKW (filed April 6, 2012); Frazier v. Myers, et al., 2:13cv-781-WKW (filed October 21, 2013); Boyd v. Myers, et al., 2:14-cv-1017-WKW
(filed October 2, 2014); Roberts v. Myers, et al., 2:14-cv-1028-WKW (filed October
3, 2014); and Myers v. Myers, et al., 2:14-cv-1029-WKW (filed October 3, 2014).
All of these cases present similar claims of the plaintiffs and defenses of the State.
Three of these cases, Frazier, Boyd, and Roberts, have motions to set execution dates
pending before the Alabama Supreme Court.1 No motion to set an execution date
On March 17, 2015, the State moved the Alabama Supreme Court to hold these motions in
abeyance until the Supreme Court rules in Glossip v. Gross, but the Alabama Supreme Court has
not yet ruled on these motions.
was filed in Grayson, and execution dates were set by the Alabama Supreme Court
in this case (April 16, 2015) and Myers (June 18, 2015). The February 19, 2015
execution date in Arthur was recently stayed pending a trial on May 5−6, 2015, and
a final decision by the court.
On March 17, 2015, the court held a joint telephone status conference in
Frazier, Roberts, and Boyd. Counsel for those plaintiffs and the State participated.2
Based upon the representations made by both the plaintiffs and the State at this
conference, the court reconsidered, sua sponte, a motion made by the State in Arthur
to extend discovery deadlines and to amend the court’s scheduling order. See Arthur
v. Myers, et al., 2:11-cv-438-WKW (Doc. # 232.) The court had previously granted
the State’s motion in part, extending the deadlines for expert reports and discovery,
but had denied the motion to the extent the State sought a continuance of the May
5−6, 2015 final hearing. See Arthur v. Myers, et al., 2:11-cv-438-WKW (Doc. #
However, following the March 17, 2015 joint status conference, the court
reconsidered one of the grounds given by the State for a continuance of the May
5−6, 2015 final hearing in Arthur, namely, that the United States Supreme Court’s
upcoming decision in Glossip v. Gross will affect many of the questions facing the
Although Grayson, Hunt, and Myers were not technically part of the March 17, 2015
telephone conference, counsel for those plaintiffs participated in the conference, albeit indirectly,
since Grayson, Hunt, and Myers are represented by the same counsel as Frazier and Roberts.
court in Arthur. Glossip will address, among other things, Florida’s lethal injection
protocol, which is substantially similar to Alabama’s, and will likely bear directly
on the pleading and proof standards in Eighth Amendment lethal injection claims,
as well as the scope and type of discovery that is relevant and appropriate in those
cases. As a result, the court found that it was in the interests of justice to continue
motion and discovery deadlines and the final hearing in Arthur until the Supreme
Court decides Glossip (with a decision expected by the end of June).
This case involves many of the same issues and defenses as those presented
in Arthur and, therefore, will also be affected by the Supreme Court’s decision in
Glossip. Moreover, based on a joint status report filed by Hunt and the State on
March 18, 2015, a delay of a few months in the progress of this litigation will not
prejudice Hunt. (See Doc. # 28.) Indeed, the Alabama Supreme Court recently
granted an unopposed motion to stay Hunt’s execution, staying his execution
generally. (See Doc. # 29-1.) Thus, in light of the foregoing, the court finds it
appropriate and in the interests of justice to stay Hunt’s proceedings before this court
until after a decision is issued in Glossip.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED as follows:
This proceeding, including the State’s deadline to answer Hunt’s
complaint, is STAYED generally.
Within fourteen (14) days from the Supreme Court’s decision in
Glossip, the parties shall jointly, if possible, or individually, if not, file a statement
or appropriate motion that informs the court of their respective positions on the
issues in this case in view of the Glossip decision.
DONE this 23rd day of March, 2015.
/s/ W. Keith Watkins
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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