Petitions to Governor

Tell Governor Lee: Tennessee Should Stop Executing and Start Examining This Broken System

While the nation moves away from the death penalty, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery has requested nine new execution dates for Tennessee death row inmates.

TADP needs you to contact Governor Lee to remind him of his commitment to criminal justice reform and to ask him to conduct a thorough examination of Tennessee’s death penalty system before any more executions take place.

Please email or call Governor Lee at or (615) 741-2001. Here is a sample message that you can use, but please put it into your own words.

Governor Lee,

As a Tennessean who cares about fairness and the rule of law, I remain grateful for your stated commitment to criminal justice reform in our state. I share that commitment. However, I also believe that a thorough examination of Tennessee’s death penalty system must be included in any serious conversation about criminal justice reform.

As you are well aware, the cases of both Abu Ali Abdur’Rahman, whose trial was plagued by racial bias and prosecutorial misconduct, and Sedley Alley, who was executed by the State of Tennessee in 2006 without the testing of critical DNA evidence, have refocused the public’s attention on the serious flaws with our state’s death penalty system, including racism, arbitrariness, and the risk of executing the innocent.

Given these serious concerns, the state should stop all executions until a comprehensive examination of the fairness and accuracy of Tennessee’s death penalty system is conducted. As governor, you have the authority to pause all pending executions until such an examination can occur.

With the overwhelming evidence of disrepair in our current system, Tennessee needs your leadership to ensure that the problems are identified and addressed before another execution goes forward. Thank you.

BACKGROUND: The death penalty is fast falling out of favor; Tennessee juries handed down only two new death sentences from 2013-2018. Twenty-two states no longer have the death penalty while four additional states have enacted moratoria halting executions. Public support, executions, and death sentences remain at near forty years lows.

The Attorney General’s decision to double down on executions in Tennessee ignores the overwhelming evidence of a system is disrepair. The recent media attention to the cases of Abu Ali Abdur’Rahman and Sedley Alley highlight a system infected with racial bias that can’t be trusted to determine who lives and who dies.

Instead of rushing towards more executions, the Governor should undertake a comprehensive study to address the errors, racism, and arbitrariness that riddle the death penalty system.

Thank you for taking action today!

P.S. If you have trouble with Governor Lee’s email link, please cut and paste his address into a new email. Also, please don’t copy TADP on the email!