November 14, 2007
Tennessee AG opines about alternative execution methods
As detailed in this article, local Tennessee prosecutors "have been calling on the state to use the electric chair as a back-up after a U.S. District Court in September found Tennessee's lethal injection procedures to be unconstitutional." But yesterday the state's attorney general in this written opinion concluded that the state cannot use its electric chair unless the defendant selects this method. Here is how the AG's opinion starts:
In light of the recent decision by the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee holding unconstitutional Tennessee’s current three-drug protocol for carrying out executions by lethal injection, does Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-23-114(d) authorize the state now to proceed with an execution by means of electrocution when a death-sentenced prisoner has declined to exercise his statutory right to elect electrocution as the method of execution in his case?
No. It is the opinion of this office that electrocution may be substituted as a method of execution for an inmate who has not chosen it only in the event that lethal injection is declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court, Tennessee Supreme Court, or other appellate court specified in Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-23-114(d).
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November 14, 2007 at 11:02 AM | Permalink
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If the lethal injection is unconstitutional, what makes them think that the electric chair will stand a chance?
Posted by: EJ | Nov 14, 2007 12:10:44 PM
I don't see why the states all dont just use a legal overdose of opiates (morphine, oxycodone, dilaudid, fentanyl, or even heroin). Nobody can complain it is painful (quite the opposite); it would even be pleasurable before passing out and ultimately suffocating to death from respiratory depression.
It would put all of these current arguments about the 3-drug cocktail to rest, and it might even stigmatize opiate use (it would be associated with executions the way Edison wanted alternating current to be associated with it vis a vis the electric chair, to hurt Westinghouse and increase acceptance of his direct current).
Posted by: bruce | Nov 14, 2007 9:36:54 PM