Judge Halts TN Lethal Injection
A federal judge has halted an upcoming execution in Tennessee, ruling that the state’s lethal injection procedure presents “a substantial risk of unnecessary pain.”
Judge Aleta A. Trauger of Nashville said the three-drug procedure does not ensure that inmates are unconscious when they are executed, the New York Times reports. The judge’s opinion (PDF posted by Tennessean.com) quotes an article written by the medical examiner who devised the procedure in which he said, “It never occurred to me when we set this up that we’d have complete idiots administering the drugs.”
Trauger said the procedure is cruel and unusual punishment and blocked the scheduled Sept. 26 execution of Edward J. Harbison, convicted of beating an elderly woman to death.
The Death Penalty Information Center says Tennessee is among 11 states where lethal injections have been blocked or suspended because of concerns about the procedure.