Tennessee limiting use of electric chair

Nov. 14, 2007 at 6:28 PM
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NASHVILLE, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper said the electric chair would be available for executions in the state only if a condemned prisoner chose to use it.

While prosecutors have been calling for increased use of the electric chair as a form of capital punishment, Cooper said that a prisoner must choose that particular method of execution for it to be used, The Nashville Tennessean reported Wednesday.

Cooper's controversial decision came Tuesday in the wake of a U.S. District Court's ruling in September that found Tennessee's lethal injection method of execution unconstitutional.

Cooper said the electric chair could be used if the Tennessee Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court supports that ruling in future decisions.

Nashville attorney David Raybin said that until the nation's high court rules on the controversial execution methods, executions likely will be delayed in Tennessee and across the nation.

"There will be no executions in Tennessee until the Supreme Court has decided this," Raybin told the Tennessean. "There is a de facto moratorium in the United States."

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