Saturday, 7 April 2007

Tennessee lethal-injection probe proceeds under tight time constraint

Tennessee lethal-injection probe proceeds under tight time constraint: Sheila Burke has this article in the Nashville Tennessean, entitled " Lawyers doubt quick fix for executions; State says it will be set to kill Workman May 9," on Thursday's public hearing on efforts to revise Tennessee's lethal-injection protocol in time to execute Philip Workman on May 9. Jared Allen has this piece in the Nashville City Paper, entitled "90-day execution review unrealistic, inadequate, critics say." Stacy Rector, of the Tennessee Coalition Against State Killing, has this insightful post on the TCASK blog, entitled "Good Friday Reflections." (Hat-tips: Sentencing Law and Policy, which has commentary here, and CapDefenseWeekly here.)
Tennessean excerpt:
...If California, Missouri and Florida can't get an execution right in 90 days, Tennessee won't be able to, either, defense attorneys told prison officials Thursday.

"The reality is that 90 days is an unrealistic time frame to fix what was broken," said Kelley Henry, an assistant federal public defender who spoke at a public hearing on how Tennessee should put inmates to death.

In February, Gov. Phil Bredesen put a halt to all executions and ordered the Tennessee Department of Correction to come up with new protocols by May 2.

TCASK excerpt:
...I was told that the Department had invited a variety of people to speak, including lawyers, medical personnel, and pharmacology experts. I had hoped for a hearing which provided information as to the inhumane-ness of the lethal injection protocol while also highlighting the state's lack of transparency and truncated time frame of only 90 days to fix a protocol that, by the Governor's own admission, is "sloppy" at best.

Upon arriving at the hearing, only two invited speakers were present...

...The hearing lasted less than an hour. TCASK did have several members present at the hearing, along with lawyers and some media. Unfortunately, the lack of notice given for this most important meeting did not allow us the time we needed to truly organize the way that we would have liked. As a pastor, my stomach felt sick as I sat in a room on Maundy Thursday, the day Jesus ate his final meal, to discuss how the state can strive to more humanely take a human life.

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