ACLU-TN Reports "Disturbed by Lethal Injection Report, Calls for Moratorium on Death Penalty"

Dec 29, 2022 at 05:48 pm by WGNS Radio News

According to the ACLU of Tennessee, Governor Bill Lee’s office released an independent investigator’s report on the state’s lethal injection operations.

The inspector’s findings include that:

  • After the state revised its lethal injection protocol in 2018, there is no evidence that it ever provided the pharmacy tasked with testing Tennessee’s lethal injection chemicals with a copy of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol.
  • The state failed to carry out its own lethal injection protocol in a number of executions, including a failure to properly test drugs before executions took place.
  • The state was prepared to use defective drugs in at least one execution, and the report documented multiple problems in the handling of the drugs.
  • The following can be attributed to Kathy Sinback, ACLU of Tennessee executive director:

"This disturbing report illustrates the danger that arises when the government operates in secrecy. The state was fully prepared to execute seven people using improperly tested, and at times defective, drugs that create the sensation of drowning or burning alive – in the name of all Tennesseans. Because of state laws that allow secrecy in execution protocols, these horrific errors would not have come to light had the governor not ordered this investigation."

"The death penalty is not only unconstitutional, but a failed government program – broken and serving no one. We call for complete transparency regarding the state’s execution practices; urge the governor to impose a moratorium on the use of the death penalty while he fully reviews this broken system; and encourage him to identify other, more effective ways to protect public safety."

More on the Current Death Row - Nearly 50-people are currently on Death Row in Tennessee, some of whom have been there since their sentencing in 1983. The oldest person on Death Row is Oscar Smith, who was convicted of First-Degree Murder in 1990. Smith is 72-years-old and was convicted in Davidson County (See who is on Death Row in Tennessee Here).

Executions have been a part of Tennessee’s judicial history for over 100-years, but recording the names of those executed was not officially documented by the state until 1916 when Julius Morgan was executed for rape. Morgan was convicted in Dyer County, TN.

Over the years at least two executions were for crimes committed in Rutherford County. In 1927, John H. Wallace was convicted of murder in Rutherford County and executed on May 25, 1927. Years later, Albert Duboise was executed for a murder that also occurred in Rutherford County. Duboise was executed on April 11, 1947.

The Department of Correction is charged with carrying out death sentences in Tennessee. Although methods have changed, capital punishment has existed in Tennessee, off and on, throughout its history. In 1998, lethal injection became the method of execution for those offenses committed on or after January 1, 1999.

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