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Federal judge denies final appeal for Joe Nathan James Jr., execution set for Thursday

James was convicted for the 1994 shooting death of his former girlfriend, Faith Hall. Hall’s family is asking that he not be executed.


Joe Nathan James Jr., is almost out of appeals, and his execution – scheduled for Thursday at William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore – will need an unlikely intervention to be stopped. 

Federal Judge Terry Moorer denied the last of several appeals James filed recently seeking to stop his execution by lethal injection. In this case, James had argued that the state had violated his rights by beginning the execution process – moving him to an isolated cell off of death row – while he still had legal actions before the courts. 

James is serving as his own counsel, and his filings with the court, while legally sound and mostly well written, are written by hand. 

In his opinion issued Monday, Moorer said James’ had failed to “establish that his claims have substantial likelihood of success on the merits.” Moorer also said that the continued filing of claims in a death penalty case does not preclude the state from moving forward with scheduling an execution date and beginning the execution process. 

James also argued that he had a right to choose nitrogen hypoxia as his method of execution – a new, untested method of execution approved for use by Alabama lawmakers in 2018. The state has never conducted an execution using the method and to date there is no protocol for such an execution. 

As such, a number of inmates, seeking to push back their execution dates, have attempted to change their execution method to nitrogen hypoxia. However, Alabama law also dictates that anyone wishing to use the new method must choose it within 30 days of being convicted. 

Moorer notes that James missed the deadline by several years. 

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James was convicted in 1999 of the brutal murder of Faith Hall, a 26-year-old mother of two and James’ former girlfriend. James, who had allegedly stalked and harassed Hall for months – to the point that she filed four police reports begging for protection – followed Hall to a friend’s apartment. When Hall wouldn’t open the door, James kicked it in. He proceeded to shoot Hall numerous times. 

However, in an interview with, Hall’s family – her daughters and brother – said they don’t want to see James executed. Saying that James’ death won’t bring back their mother, they have notified both the Alabama Attorney General’s Office and written a letter to Gov. Kay Ivey expressing their wish that James be sentenced to life in prison instead.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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