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Tennessee governor stops executions pending procedural review

[JURIST] Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen [official profile] issued an executive order [PDF text; press release] Thursday, directing the Tennessee Commissioner of Corrections to conduct a "comprehensive review of the manner in which death sentences are administered... and provide [the governor] new protocols and related written procedures in administering death sentences in Tennessee" no later than May 2, 2007. Executive Order No. 43 also grants reprieves to four inmates on death row until May 2, 2007, and revoked existing procedures and related protocols used to administer the death penalty [JURIST news archive]. Tennessee currently administers the death penalty by lethal injection and electrocution.

Last week, a North Carolina state judge issued an injunction [JURIST report] blocking two executions until Governor Mike Easley issues new procedures to execute capital defendants without the presence of doctors. Capital punishment has also been suspended in Florida and California [JURIST reports]. In early-January, the New Jersey Death Penalty Commission recommended abolishing the death penalty [JURIST report] and replacing it with a life sentence without the possibility of parole. An increased number of states have begun to review the administration of the death penalty following the botched execution of Angel Diaz [Amnesty profile] in December 2006. The New York Times has more. AP has additional coverage.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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