|Tennessee Death Chamber|
In an order filed Friday, the court said it was nullifying the execution dates for four inmates until a trial court weighs in on the challenges each inmate has filed against the state’s lethal injection protocol. Similarly, the court had already issued orders in recent months calling off other scheduled executions to allow for lower courts to act.
These last four executions were set to take place between October of this year and March 2016. By calling off these executions, the court canceled the final executions remaining on the calendar for Tennessee, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
This makes Tennessee just the latest state to delay all of its executions or halt any capital punishment activity this year, though the precise circumstances vary from place to place. In Pennsylvania, the governor suspended the death penalty entirely in February.
Other states are halting executions while they deal with issues involving the drugs, which have become scarce in recent years. Ohio delayed all of its executions scheduled for this year while it works out a new lethal injection protocol. Georgia says it is delaying all executions while it examines lethal injection drugs that appeared “cloudy” before an execution scheduled for last month.
This drug shortage has prompted states to adopt new lethal injection protocols and turn to other methods, which is at the heart of a case the U.S. Supreme Court will hear later this month. Executions in Oklahoma, Florida and Alabama are on hold until the justices considers a challenge to Oklahoma’s lethal-injection protocol.
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Source: The Washington Post, April 13, 2015
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