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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Tennessee Brings Back The Electric Chair

Rumors are that Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a bill into law allowing the state to electrocute death row inmates in the event prisons are unable to obtain lethal injection drugs. In a related report by The Inquisitr, the state of Utah is considering bringing back firing squad executions for their death penalty because it’s considerably cheaper than lethal injection and other methods. But some people also say it’s a better way to go.

The electric chair legislation overwhelmingly passed both the Tennessee House (68 to 13) and Senate (23 to 3) back in April, but Republican Governor Bill Haslam only recent signed the bill into law. A Vanderbilt University poll on the death penalty found that 56 percent of voters in Tennessee support the electric chair, while 37 percent are against it.

The reason the electric chair bill came up in the first place is because states are finding it increasingly harder to obtain the right mix of drugs required for the lethal injection from suppliers after Europe led a boycott against drugs used to enforce the death penalty. Senator Ken Yager said it had become “a real concern that we could find ourselves in a position that if the chemicals were unavailable to us that we would not be able to carry out the sentence.”

The impetus for bringing back the execution chair was created by the recent botched execution in Oklahoma where the inmate was said to be “tortured to death.” Witnesses say the man suffered for 43 minutes after the drugs were administered, writhing and clenching his teeth in pain, but eventually died of a collapsed vein instead of the drugs.

According to Richard Dieter, the president of the Death Penalty Information Center, the difference between Tennessee and the eight other states with electric chair laws is that other states give inmates an option on whether they should be executed to death.