Yesterday, the State Supreme Court set a new execution date for Daryl Holton, who was also nearly executed in September of last year. Holton is now scheduled to be executed on February 28th, only 6 days after the scheduled execution of E. J. Harbison on the 22nd. Ironically, Harbison’s execution (1:00 am on the 22nd, so really the night of the 21st) falls on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian season on Lent, a season for repentance, forgiveness, and self reflection, as we prepare to commemorate another execution.
Holton’s execution date is considered very real and TCASK is very concerned about it. Holton’s date actually makes 5, that’s right 5, very serious execution dates set for the next 4 months, a frightening prospect, but a continually present one, for a state that has had only 2 executions in the past 47 years but also has the ninth largest death row in the country.
With impending executions, the clear brokenness of our capital punishment system and the need for a moratorium have never been clearer, and, at the same time as we face the possibility of our state beginning to kill people at a rate rivaled only by execution behemoths like TX, VA, and OK, we also face our best chances ever to pass legislation to halt the operation of this seriously flawed system. Our legislative partnerships have never been stronger and we’ve established functional TCASK groups all across the state. But we need everyone to take part, participate in a write-a-thon in your area, come to Justice Day on the Hill (March 27th) and get involved in your local TCASK chapter – or start one.
In the coming months, we can sit by as Tennessee becomes the next Texas, casually disregarding life and any semblance on justice and fairness, or we can stand up and make Tennessee follow in the footsteps of New Jersey and Illinois, calling a halt to executions and using this Lenten season to take a serious look at our death penalty system. The choice is yours.
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