On November 2, 2023, Demetrius Minor, the National Manager of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty and Davis Turner, a retired attorney whose brother was murdered in Nashville in 2009 and a board member of Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, co-authored an op-ed in The Tennessean discussing a recent report by the Death Penalty Information Center. “Doomed to Repeat: The Legacy of Race in Tennessee’s Contemporary Death Penalty” details the history of racial violence and use of capital punishment in Tennessee. Mr. Minor and Mr. Turner note that the report, “shows that uneven justice continues to delegitimize the state’s capital punishment system in the present day.”

DPIC’s report analyzed data on death sentences imposed in Tennessee and found, among other racial disparities, that prosecutors are more likely to seek the death penalty in capital cases involving white victims. The authors write, “Until the state can eradicate racial bias from the administration of the death penalty – which is not possible – it shouldn’t use it.” They explain, “The issues highlighted in this report are among the growing list of concerns that conservatives have about the death penalty, among them are the risk of executing the innocent (192 exonerations since 1972), the financial costs, and the toll the decades long process takes on victims’ families.”

Mr. Minor and Mr. Turner also express concern regarding the lack of transparency by the Tennessee Department of Corrections and question Tennessee’s competency to administer executions. The current development of a new execution protocol has remained in secrecy. “Tennessee should not join states like Alabama and South Carolina in tinkering with execution protocols and spending years and millions of taxpayer dollars in litigation over the new protocols when we have alternative sentences that can keep the public safe.”


Demetrius Minor and Davis Turner, The his­to­ry of racism in Tennessee exe­cu­tions is why cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment is unjust, Tennessean, November 32023.