April 6, 2007 (2 articles)
Few attend discussion of execution methods
By TRAVIS LOLLER, Associated Press
NASHVILLE - Despite a sparse turnout at a public hearing Thursday, state
Department of Correction officials say they are on track to present revised
execution procedures by a May 2 deadline.
Only four people spoke at the hearing seeking ideas on topics like changing
the state's lethal injection drug formula and testing of the electric chair.
None addressed the topic at hand.
Two speakers questioned the morality of the death penalty while attorney
Michael Passino and assistant federal public defender Kelley Henry, both
defenders of death row inmates, questioned the possibility of developing
good protocols for lethal injection and electrocution by the deadline.
Gov. Phil Bredesen temporarily halted all executions in February after a
death-row inmate sued the state over its execution procedures in federal
court in Nashville, giving the department 90 days to develop new protocols
for both lethal injection and electrocution.
Henry told the commission charged with the task, "The reality is that 90
days is an unrealistic timeframe to fix what was broken."
Passino said the process "must include medical expertise, although I
understand the problems you bump into."
The American Medical Association'
members to participate in executions.
In Florida, a special commission studying lethal injection wrote in a final
report that its ability to gather information was limited because "medical
personnel are prohibited from participating in executions and rendering
It is unknown if the Tennessee commission has had similar problems.
Correction Commissioner George Little, speaking after the hearing, would not
comment on whom the commission has spoken to.
He said the group would produce a "product adequate to the task laid out."
An Associated Press review earlier this year of the state's 100-page "Manual
of Execution" revealed a cut-and-paste jumble of conflicting instructions
that mixes new lethal injection instructions with those for the old electric
Source : Associated Press