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Lindsay Kee, (615) 320-7142

December 28, 2022


December 28, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today Governor Bill Lee’s office released an independent investigator’s report on the state’s lethal injection operations.

The inspector’s findings include that:

  • After the state revised its lethal injection protocol in 2018, there is no evidence that it ever provided the pharmacy tasked with testing Tennessee’s lethal injection chemicals with a copy of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol.
  • The state failed to carry out its own lethal injection protocol in a number of executions, including a failure to properly test drugs before executions took place.
  • The state was prepared to use defective drugs in at least one execution, and the report documented multiple problems in the handling of the drugs.

The following can be attributed to Kathy Sinback, ACLU of Tennessee executive director:

"This disturbing report illustrates the danger that arises when the government operates in secrecy. The state was fully prepared to execute seven people using improperly tested, and at times defective, drugs that create the sensation of drowning or burning alive – in the name of all Tennesseans. Because of state laws that allow secrecy in execution protocols, these horrific errors would not have come to light had the governor not ordered this investigation.

"The death penalty is not only unconstitutional, but a failed government program – broken and serving no one. We call for complete transparency regarding the state’s execution practices; urge the governor to impose a moratorium on the use of the death penalty while he fully reviews this broken system; and encourage him to identify other, more effective ways to protect public safety."