An Alabama death row inmate's claim seeking to block his upcoming execution was dismissed by a federal judge on Sunday.

According to the AP News, the judge on Sunday granted Alabama's request to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Kenneth Eugene Smith. The judge agreed that Smith waited too long to file the challenge. But Alabama's prison commissioner was also warned by U.S. District Judge R. Austin Huffaker Jr. to strictly follow established protocol when officials try to put the inmate to death in November.

Huffaker wrote that sanctions will be swift and serious if "counsel and the Commissioner do not honor or abide by their representations and stipulations."

Smith, who was sent to death row in 1996, will be executed by lethal injection Nov. 17. He was convicted in the murder-for-hire killing of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett. She was a 45-year-old grandmother and pastor’s wife who was beaten and stabbed in March 1988 in her north Alabama home. Her husband, Charles Sennett, had paid to have her killed, reported

Smith’s lawyers pointed to a July 28 execution, which an anti-death penalty group claims was botched. The lawyers used it to argue that Alabama’s lethal injection process creates a risk of cruel punishment, reported ABC News. Inmate Joe Nathan James Jr.'s execution, which happened in July, was carried out more than three hours after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request for a stay. Later state officials acknowledged that the execution was delayed due to difficulties in establishing an intravenous line. But they did not specify how long it took.

A doctor who witnessed a private autopsy that was paid for by an anti-death penalty group said that it appeared officials might have tried to perform a “cutdown." It is a procedure in which the skin is opened to allow a visual search for a vein. Huffaker said that Corrections Commissioner John Hamm “represents in his brief and during oral argument that the ADOC did not employ a cutdown procedure or intramuscular sedation during the James execution." He also denied any "present intent to employ any such procedure in the future.”

The judge ruled that Smith missed the time frame to challenge the lethal injection process in Alabama. He missed the 2018 deadline to request execution by nitrogen hypoxia. It is an execution method that Alabama has authorized, but not developed a process to use. Smith’s legal team argued that the state violated his due process rights. They did so by not providing him information necessary to make a knowing and voluntary waiver of his nitrogen hypoxia election right in 2018.

Representation image. Pixabay.