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Alabama Supreme Court schedules two executions

MONTGOMERY (AP) — The Alabama Supreme Court has scheduled executions for death row inmates Thomas Douglas Arthur on Dec. 6 and James Harvey Callahan on Jan. 31, but a case before the U.S. Supreme Court could delay them.

The state's highest court set the dates Wednesday after the attorney general's office sought schedules for the inmates to die. The executions would be the first in Alabama since the state Department of Corrections revised its lethal injection procedures.

Bryan Stevenson, director of the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama, said he was surprised by the execution orders because the U.S. Supreme Court stopped a Mississippi execution Tuesday night and gave its strongest indication yet that executions shouldn't proceed until the court hears a challenge to lethal injection procedures from Kentucky.

Stevenson, who represents Callahan, said he expects both Alabama execution dates to be called off.

"There is every indication these will be stayed. The question is by whom and when?" he said.

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed only one execution to be carried out since it agreed to hear the Kentucky case. That execution occurred in Texas on Sept. 25.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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