Tennessee Governor Bill Lee Orders All Scheduled Lethal Injection Executions Temporarily Halted through 2022

By Gracy Joslin

NASHVILLE, TN – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee Monday temporarily halted the lethal injection of death row patient Oscar Franklin Smith until “third-party review of a lethal injection testing oversight,” according to the governor

Governor Lee stated this is to ensure the procedure is “correctly followed.”

Although he said he believes the death penalty “is an appropriate punishment for heinous crimes,” the governor added he does not feel comfortable following through with the five scheduled executions for 2022.

The next scheduled execution by lethal injection was supposed to have been April 21 for death row inmate Smith. Governor Lee and the United States Supreme Court “declined to intervene on the merits of Smith’s case.”

However, until evaluation and questions are answered by former U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton, Smith’s lethal injection has been paused for now.

In particular, former U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton will be reviewing the “[c]ircumstances that led to testing the lethal injection chemicals for only potency and sterility but not endotoxins preparing for the April 21 execution.”

In addition, he’ll ensure “adherence to testing policies” outlined in the Lethal Injection Process Manual that was last updated in 2018, as well as “TDOC staffing considerations.”

Governor Lee said, “An investigation by a respected third-party will ensure any operational failures at TDOC are thoroughly addressed.”

In response, Attorney Kelley Henry stated, “Governor Lee’s decision to pause executions pending an independent review of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol shows great leadership.”

Until then, the five scheduled 2022 executions will be rescheduled and dates are to be determined by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

About The Author

Gracy is a 4th Year at UC Davis studying Political Science and minoring in Communications and Sociology. Post graduation plans include traveling and then eventually attending Law School.

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