Bernard E. Harcourt Honored by New York City Bar Association: The Committee on Capital Punishment of the New York City Bar Association unanimously voted to award him the Norman Redlich Capital Defense Distinguished Service Award for his longtime advocacy on behalf of individuals on death row. Read more.

Bernard E. Harcourt challenges constitutionality of lethal injection in Alabama death penalty case

last updated: December 9, 2021

Bernard E. Harcourt, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought, has represented death row inmate Doyle Lee Hamm since 1990.

Hamm, who was convicted and sentenced to death in 1987 for the robbery-murder of a Cullman County motel clerk, Patrick Cunningham, challenged his capital sentence for more than 31 years. Since 2014, Hamm has been battling lymphatic cancer and carcinoma. Treatment for the illness has compromised Hamm’s veins–Harcourt argued that lethal injection would likely cause “cruel and needless pain.”

After signing a confidential settlement agreement, Harcourt jointly moved with the State of Alabama to dismiss Hamm’s civil rights lawsuit and federal habeas corpus petition in the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham, as well as his state post-conviction Rule 32 petition in Cullman County, Alabama. This will end efforts at setting another execution date.

Hamm lost his battle to cancer on Sunday, November 28, 2021, and was laid to rest with his family in Cherokee, Alabama. You can read his obituary in the New York Times here.

Please note the Doyle Hamm Updates website is here. This story is being covered by several outlets: