Tennessee Supreme Court Approves Lethal Injection Protocol, Clears Way For Execution

The Tennessee Supreme Court found the Department of Corrections’ newly-drafted lethal injection protocol constitutional Wednesday, clearing the way for the scheduled execution of Stephen West. Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman had ruled the previous procedures unconstitutional after medical professionals found that insufficient amounts of sodium thiopental caused inmates to suffocate. The new protocol requires the warden to shake the inmate after the first injection to ensure the inmate is unconscious. With the execution only a day away, Stephen West’s attorneys are now turning to the United States Supreme Court, where they plan to appeal the constitutionality of the new lethal injection protocol as well as improperly withheld information about West’s history of mental illness during his sentencing trial.

With the Department of Corrections placing Stephen West on death watch, TADP will hold vigils across the state to remember all those individuals whose lives have been lost to murder as well as the families who have been traumatized. And, as we remember, we also gather to resist the continued use of violence as a means to address these tragedies.

Because there is a new execution time, 10:00 p.m., plans have changed around the TADP vigil in Nashville. Because of the earlier time frame, Nashville TADP will hold only one event on the eve of the execution.  We will gather on Tuesday, November 30th, in the field just past the entrance to Riverbend at 7:30 p.m and will hold an interfaith Service of Remembrance and Resistance at 8:00 p.m. in this location. Following the service, we will wait together until 9:30 when we will begin our candlelight vigil until the execution occurs or a stay is granted. 

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Photo provided by TNJN

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