’m sure most people reading this will know I work for Clifford Chance. We’re a corporate law firm so we don’t usually hit the headlines in other aspects of law. So it makes a change to report that lawyers from our London and New York offices succeeded in securing a stay of execution for Jack Alderman, the US’ longest serving death row prisoner, who was due to be executed last Friday by lethal injection. After four unsuccessful appeals in the previous seven days, the stay of execution was granted late on Thursday, 18 October as the prison were preparing Jack Alderman for execution. Jack Alderman has been on death row for 33 years during which time he has continued to protest his innocence and to fight to clear his name.
We succeeded on arguing that lethal injection was cruel and unusual punishment and therefore breached the Eighth Amendment. The Supreme Court will now look at this and is expected to reach a decision on the legality of lethal injection around spring 2008, by which time the firm hope to have secured a new trial and/or succeed in getting Alderman acquitted.