Tennessee Governor Signs Forced Electrocution Bill
On May 22, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law a bill that will allow the state to use the electric chair in executions if lethal injection drugs are not available. While seven states, including Tennessee, allow inmates to choose the electric chair as their method of execution, no other state forces inmates to be executed by that method. Defense attorney David Raybin, who helped draft Tennessee's death penalty law in the 1970s, said that changing the execution method retroactively would be unconstitutional. Inmates might also raise challenges to electrocution under the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Executions by electric chair have resulted in inmates bleeding and catching fire, and some have required multiple jolts of electricity before death occurred. Since 1976, 158 people have been executed by the electric chair. The last use of the electric chair in Tennessee was in 2007, when Daryl Holton chose electrocution over lethal injection. Read the text of the bill here.
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