NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Tennessee Supreme Court says the death penalty is constitutional, so there must be a constitutional way to carry it out. But attorneys for 33 death row inmates say lethal injection isn’t one of them.
In a trial that began July 7, they are trying to prove lethal injection carries an unacceptably high risk of extreme suffering and can cause a lingering death.
The second claim is a novel one. It is based on the theory that an overdose of sedatives can put inmates into a death-like coma without truly killing them for hours.
Attorneys for the state disagree. Davidson County Acting Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Feng Li is an expert witness in the case. He says lethal injection should leave a prisoner unconscious within seconds and dead within minutes.
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