[Disclosure: The author was represented as an amicus curiae in this case as one of twenty-two members of the Tennessee Bar Association, and he has previously written about and spoken about his opposition to capital punishment on several occasions.]
In the latest round of litigation over the constitutionality of Tennessee’s death penalty protocol, thirty-five death-sentenced inmates filed a lawsuit against several Tennessee prison officials challenging the constitutionality of the electric chair as a method of execution. The inmates’ claims in this particular case arose out of Tennessee’s “Capital Punishment Enforcement Act” (CPEA), which is codified at Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-23-114(e). Following nationwide difficulties securing the chemicals necessary to implement Tennessee’s pre-existing lethal injection protocol, the state legislature enacted the CPEA in 2014 in an effort to permit the use of the electric chair as an alternative method of execution should the requisite lethal injection chemicals be unavailable.
The Government opposed the inmates’ challenge to the constitutionality of the electric chair in part on the basis that Continue reading Tennessee Supreme Court denies inmates’ request to challenge constitutionality of the electric chair, but holds that they will have the opportunity to do so in the future.