Tennessee stays execution of four inmates

NASHVILLE, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Tennessee has stayed the execution of four men to allow a trial court to test the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection procedure, officials said.

The Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order staying the execution of Stephen Michael West scheduled Tuesday, the Tennessee court system Web site reported.


The executions of three other death row inmates were also stayed pending resolution of the issue.

West filed a motion Nov. 24 requesting postponement after a Davidson County Chancery Court ruled the state's lethal injection procedure was unconstitutional.

The trial court ruled the state's current procedure did not offer a safeguard to ensure a prisoner was unconscious before the final two drugs are administered.

The state responded by saying it had changed its execution procedure to include a test to confirm that the inmate is unconscious before the final two drugs were injected.

The state Supreme Court granted West's motion for a delay to allow the constitutionality of the new procedure to be fully tested in trial court.

The court directed the trial court to allow the parties to submit argument or evidence on the revised protocol, and said the trial court must render its final judgment within 90 days.


Latest Headlines