Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen has imposed a 90 day moratorium because of concerns over the state's lethal injection procedures. The Nashville Tennessean has his full statement here.
"I think all of you know that I consider the responsibility of the state to carry out the death penalty among the very most serious responsibilities we have.
"I am a supporter of the death penalty. I believe, in addition, that it is incumbent on the state to carry out these sentences constitutionally and appropriately.
"In the process of preparing for litigation surrounding the lethal injection procedure used in our state, this is litigation in Judge Trauger's Court, the office of the Attorney General and the staff of the Department of Correction have identified deficiencies with our written procedures that raise concerns that they are not adequate to preclude mistakes in the future.
Following the governor's remarks, Attorney General Bob Cooper gave the following statement:
"Our office will notify the appropriate courts immediately of these developments in the cases set for execution over the next 90 days.
"Those cases affected include:
“State v. Daryl Keith Holton, scheduled to be executed Feb. 18, 2007;
“State v. Edward Jerome Harbison, scheduled for Feb. 22, 2007;
“State v. Michael Joe Boyd, scheduled for March 7, 2007.
“State v. Pervis Payne, set for April 11, 2007."
AP has this initial report, via Newsday.
Gov. Phil Bredesen postponed four executions of condemned inmates Thursday so the state could review and better document its procedures for lethal injection.
Bredesen reiterated his support for the death penalty but said he was issuing the reprieves because he was concerned the written protocol for execution isn't specific enough.