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OffbeatWhy Tennessee death row inmates ask for electrocution over lethal injection

18:30  06 december  2018
18:30  06 december  2018 Source:   vox.com

Tennessee to electrocute second inmate in as many months

Tennessee to electrocute second inmate in as many months A Tennessee inmate is scheduled to become the second person to die in the state's electric chair in as many months Thursday evening, nearly two decades after the state adopted lethal injection as its preferred method of execution.Both David Earl Miller, 61, and Edmund Zagorski before him chose the electric chair over lethal injection, a process proponents said would be painless and humane. 1/3 SLIDES © The Associated Press FILE - In this Oct. 13, 1999, file photo, Ricky Bell, then the warden at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, Tenn., gives a tour of the prison's execution chamber.

Miller is the second death row inmate this year who chose the electric chair over lethal injection , and his wish appears to play out amid two big factors Electrocution was chosen in 2018 by a Tennessee inmate for the first time in 11 years, and no other state has used it since 2013. As painful as it is

Lethal injection is the practice of injecting one or more drugs into a person (typically a barbiturate, paralytic, and potassium solution) for the express purpose of causing immediate death .

Why Tennessee death row inmates ask for electrocution over lethal injection© The Associated Press This undated photo provided by the Tennessee Department of Correction shows death row inmate David Earl Miller in Nashville, Tenn. Miller, 61, has been moved to the state’s death watch ahead of his scheduled execution Thursday, Dec. 2018. Miller, who has been on death row for 36 years, was sentenced to death for the 1981 murder of 23-year-old Lee Standifer in Knoxville. (Tennessee Department of Correction via AP) A botched drug cocktail protocol is to blame.

David Earl Miller will face the death penalty in Tennessee today, and like a growing number of inmates, he’s asking for electrocution over lethal injection.

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Four Tennessee death row inmates are opting for a firing squad rather than lethal injection or the electric chair, The Tennessean reported, citing their lawyers. The four inmates -- David Earl Miller, Todd Sutton, Terry Lynn King, and Stephen Michael West -- were each convicted and sentenced prior

Inmate asks for electric chair execution over lethal injection . - A Tennessee inmate set to be executed this week is asking the state to die by electric chair over lethal In Tennessee , death row inmates whose offenses came before January 1999 can choose the electric chair or lethal injection .

Miller sent a handwritten note marked “URGENT” to the warden over at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, mere weeks before his sentence is to carried out on December 6. The 61-year-old man was found guilty of the 1981 murder of Lee Standifer in Knoxville, according to the Tennessean.

Miller is the second death row inmate this year who chose the electric chair over lethal injection, and his wish appears to play out amid two big factors: Botched executions have gotten national attention, and challenges either to the death penalty itself or to specific forms of execution are on the rise.

In any case, it is a definitely a provocative move. Electrocution was chosen in 2018 by a Tennessee inmate for the first time in 11 years, and no other state has used it since 2013.

Member of 'Texas 7' prison-break gang set for execution

Member of 'Texas 7' prison-break gang set for execution Attorneys for a death row inmate who is scheduled to die say he should be spared because he wasn't the one who killed a suburban Dallas police officer during a Christmas Eve robbery 18 years ago.

As of January 2017, there were 63 inmates on death row in Tennessee . Executions have been on hold pending a challenge by inmates to the single-dose drug protocol. Karen Grigsby / The Tennessean.

In Tennessee , death row inmates whose offences were committed before 1999 can opt to be executed either by lethal injection or electric chair. Tennessee is one of only nine states that allow electrocutions , and just 14 of the 871 inmates executed in the United States since 2000 have been

As painful as it is, though, electrocution lasts roughly 35 seconds. Lethal injection may take up to 18 minutes to kill an inmate.

Why Tennessee death row inmates ask for electrocution over lethal injection© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images An anti-death-penalty activist holds vigil in front of the US Supreme Court in 2012. “It’s a little bit surprising to me that they’d prefer electrocution,” said Deborah Denno, a death penalty expert and professor at Fordham University. “I really see that as a huge statement against lethal injection because electrocution has had its own problems.”

A national trend that creeps behind a botched protocol

Lethal injection was first enacted in the United States in 1977, but it wasn’t put to use on death row inmates until 1982. According to Denno, lethal injection protocol has been “consistently problematic” since its onset and has only gotten worse in terms of accounting for failed executions over the years.

In Alabama, some 51 inmates said they’ve chosen to die in the nitrogen gas chamber rather than succumb to lethal injection since granted the option in March. In Texas, a man accused of a series of rapes asked for the firing squad before eventually dying of a drug cocktail earlier this year.

Murder victims' family pushes for death penalty in Kentucky

Murder victims' family pushes for death penalty in Kentucky LONDON, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Ten years ago was the last time Kentucky executed a death row inmate. Now, a judge who put executions on hold eight years ago, has the legal filings from both sides that could lead to hearings or a ruling. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); In the meantime, victim's families are left to wait and question justice. One family spoke with WHAS11’s Chris Williams about the toll that years of uncertainty takes on survivors of brutal killings.

Weeks after choosing the electric chair over lethal injection , a Tennessee death row inmate would be He requested electrocution on the eve of his original execution date in early October because the Why is the electric chair an option? Nine states have death by electric chair as an alternative to

In Tennessee , death row inmates whose offenses came before January 1999 can choose the electric chair or lethal injection . The last time Tennessee put someone to death by electric chair was 2007. Zagorski was sentenced in 1984 in the slayings of two men during a drug deal.

In Tennessee, inmates have neither option (those with crimes committed before 1999 can still choose the electric chair, though), and some have legally challenged the constitutionality of lethal injection over what appears to be a rising concern over botched executions.

European pharmaceutical companies, which manufactured the main lethal injection drugs used in the US and exported them across the world, stopped supplying them to North America circa 2009, which created a massive shortage. Ever since, the US Department of Corrections has faced difficulties acquiring the proper cocktails, relying on cheap substitutes instead.

In comes midazolam. According to modern lethal injection protocol, midazolam (a sedative) is the first of three drugs given to death row inmates. It’s meant to render them unconscious so the other two (a muscle paralytic and a heart-stopping drug) can act on the sentenced men and women without them experiencing any pain.

But 7.1 percent of the roughly 1,000 lethal injection executions since 1890 were botched — many due to midazolam failing to act as a proper sedative.

Member of notorious 'Texas 7' prison-break gang executed for officer's killing during Christmas Eve 2000 robbery

Member of notorious 'Texas 7' prison-break gang executed for officer's killing during Christmas Eve 2000 robbery Member of notorious 'Texas 7' prison-break gang executed for officer's killing during Christmas Eve 2000 robbery. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Earlier: HUNTSVILLE, Texas — The U.S. Supreme Court rejected appeals Tuesday evening from a death row inmate who's scheduled to be executed for the death of a suburban Dallas police officer during a Christmas Eve robbery 18 years ago. Joseph Garcia, 47, is slated to die by lethal injection after 6 p.m.

Under previous law, death row inmates convicted before lethal injection was introduced in 1999 could choose to die by electrocution . The testing is meant to confirm the chair will deliver 1,750 volts at 7 amps over 20 seconds, disengage for 15 seconds and then re-engage for another 15 seconds.

A Florida death row inmate asked to die by electrocution because for “peace to the victim’s family as well as my spiritual freedom.” Florida death row inmate Wayne Doty, 42, wants to be electrocuted rather than killed via lethal injection , his August court filing said.

“It is not able to knock somebody out and keep them unconscious if [the inmates] are subsequently exposed to painful stimuli,” said Rob Dunham, executive director at the Death Penalty Information Center. “There is no question that the other drugs are going to produce pain … We know from botched executions that the description of being burned alive is physically accurate.”

Denno said she’s heard inmates who survived lethal injection describe the experience as “sticking a hot poker in your stomach.”

Of course, the failed use of midazolam is not the sole contributing factor in botched sentences. Denno and Dunham told me that, in addition to the ineffective drugs, both the physicality of the inmates and the lack of proper training and procedure carried out during the executions can explain the number of inmates who end up surviving a death sentence.

“A ‘typical’ botch is an inability to follow the protocol,” Dunham said. “So, if you struggle to find a vein, that’s a botch. If you find a vein and you administer the drugs and the execution is problematic because it’s an inappropriate drug, that’s a botched protocol.”

Failed sentences are happening at the same time as — and maybe even contributing to — legal challenges and changes to the death penalty

On Columbus Day this year, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that lethal injections will remain the preferred method of execution for people on death row, delivering a major blow to some 32 inmates who’ve protested the drug cocktails violate the US Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, which orders that no “cruel and unusual punishments” be inflicted on prisoners.

Indonesia military joins manhunt for 87 inmates after jailbreak

Indonesia military joins manhunt for 87 inmates after jailbreak Indonesian soldiers and police joined a manhunt on Friday for 87 inmates still on the run after escaping from a prison in the western province of Aceh, officials said. The 113 inmates who escaped from the Lambaro prison in Banda Aceh on Thursday had hurled water bottles laced with chilis at guards, and used barbells to smash windows, said Sri Puguh Budi Utami, Indonesia's director of prisons. Prison authorities quickly recaptured 26 inmates and 87 others were still at large, Utami said. "We are still chasing the escapees along with the police and military," she told reporters.

The man who administered the lethal injection has not been publicly named. On 21 July 1997, Martinez was sentenced to death by The mother of the murderer, said that during his short term on death row , Martinez had become an Evangelical Christian and that he had asked God for forgiveness.

Tennessee inmate Edmund Zagorski, 63, made request before state's Supreme Court ruled the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol was constitutional - paving the way A double killer on death row has asked to be executed by electric chair over lethal injection , claiming it is the 'lesser of two evils'.

Tennessee Chief Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins wrote in the majority opinion: “We conclude that the plaintiffs failed to carry their burden of showing availability of their proposed alternative method of execution … As a result, we need not address the plaintiffs’ claim that the three-drug protocol creates a demonstrated risk of severe pain.”

And yet, Tennessee inmates are not alone in the fight. Many death penalty cases have come before the Supreme Court just this year, a matter that’s put America’s highest court — and its recently confirmed controversial justice — in the spotlight.

“This all creates a perfect storm of extraordinary ineptitude,” Denno said. “The Supreme Court … is embarrassed that it’s taken on as many [death penalty cases] as it has without any resolution. It wants them to go away.”

But the Supreme Court’s apparent incompetence has driven state lawmakers to take a stronger stance on capital punishment.

Since the turn of the century, eight states have moved to abolish capital punishment for all crimes, a possible outcome of the long-standing legal battle that argues lethal injection — and electrocution, for that matter — is unconstitutional.

What’s more, support for the death penalty has drastically fallen, with 54 percent of Pew survey respondents approving of the sentencing, in stark contrast to 78 percent just over two decades ago.

According to Dunham, Americans’ approval has definitely swayed state legislatures (especially left-leaning ones like New York, Connecticut, and, most recently, Washington) to move away from capital punishment sentences, a trend that’s “certainly” also been affected by the high number of botched lethal injection executions.

And yet, in Tennessee, inmates are still likely to choose electrocution in the years to come as a form of protest.

“It really tells us about the state of the death penalty in the United States,” Dunham said. “It’s astonishing that we’ve come to this.”

Death-row inmate dies at San Quentin of unknown causes, corrections officials say.
A death-row inmate convicted of three gang-related murders in 1997 died of unknown causes at San Quentin State Prison this week, corrections officials said. 

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