Tennessee Supreme Court upholds death penalty News
Tennessee Supreme Court upholds death penalty

The Tennessee Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday upheld [opinion, PDF] the state’s lethal injection protocols in a unanimous opinion. The court found [press release] that death row inmates failed to show that the current protocol violates their constitution right against cruel and unusual punishment. Executions have been stayed in the state while the legal challenge was pending with the last execution occurring in 2009. More than 30 condemned inmates filed the complaint stating [The Tennessean report] that the use of pentobarbital created the risk of a lingering death and the lack of training at the Tennessee Department of Correction increased the risk of a botched execution. With the decision by the Tennessee Supreme Court, executions may begin being scheduled again.

The death penalty has been a pressing issue across the country. Last month the Mississippi house approved a bill [JURIST report] allowing firing squad executions. Also that month a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio refused to lift [JURIST report] a preliminary injunction that delays executions in Ohio. In January Judge Michael Merz blocked [JURIST report] Ohio’s lethal injection protocol by deeming it unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. Also in January the US Supreme Court refused [JURIST report] to consider a challenge to Alabama’s death penalty system. In December a report by the Death Penalty Information Center found that the use of capital punishment in the US is at a 20-year low [JURIST report].