Gov. Lee: Execution report complete, will release later

Dec 15, 2022, 8:19 PM | Updated: Dec 16, 2022, 10:27 am
FILE - Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee answers a question while taking part in a panel discussion during a ...

FILE - Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee answers a question while taking part in a panel discussion during a Republican Governors Association conference on Nov. 15, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. Lee announced Friday, Dec. 16, that the independent review into the state's lethal injection procedure has been completed, but refused to immediately release the report's findings. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Friday that the independent review into the state’s lethal injection procedure has been completed, but he refused to immediately release the findings.

Instead, Lee promised that the entire review will be released before the end of the year, while denying that he was attempting to bury any potentially negative findings over the holidays.

“I think it’s important that I get a chance to read the report and that we internalize it and absorb the information,” Lee told reporters.

Lee, a Republican, paused all executions in May after acknowledging that the state had failed to ensure its lethal injection drugs were properly tested. The oversight forced Lee to abruptly halt the execution of Oscar Smith an hour before he was to die in April. The governor’s office then refused to release records that could have illuminated his decision, citing attorney-client privilege and the disputed “deliberative process privilege.”

Lee appointed former U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton to review circumstances that led to the failure. Stanton was tasked with reviewing the clarity of the state’s lethal injection manual and looking at Tennessee Department of Correction staffing.

Documents obtained through a public records request later showed that at least two people knew the night before that the lethal injection drugs the state planned to use hadn’t undergone some required testing.

The records showed experts — who were not named — say testing was not performed for so-called endotoxins, which usually come from bacteria. Such testing is considered vital because it could be an indication of problems with the manufacture of the drugs.

On Friday, Lee maintained his administration was being transparent with the report even if they weren’t immediately disclosing it to the public. The governor added that he had not yet finished reading the document but confirmed that the state plans to take action.

“We want everyone to know we have it,” he said. “We want to deliver it and we’ll have it delivered before the end of the year.”

Tennessee’s independent review comes as many of the executions carried out this year were “botched” or highly problematic. The Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center has described 2022 as the “Year of the Botched Execution” as seven of the 20 execution attempts in the U.S. were visibly problematic or took an inordinate amount of time. This has led to some states, like Tennessee, to put executions on hold so processes and protocols could be reviewed.

“The release of the report will be the first step in setting the record straight,” said Federal Public Defender Kelley Henry. “We need careful and considered evaluation of this report. Personnel changes and protocol changes are sorely needed.”

Tennessee uses a three-drug series to put inmates to death: midazolam, a sedative to render the inmate unconscious; vecuronium bromide, to paralyze the inmate; and potassium chloride, to stop the heart.

Officials have said midazolam renders an inmate unconscious and unable to feel pain. Expert witnesses for inmates, however, say the drugs can cause sensations of drowning, suffocation and chemical burning while leaving inmates unable to move or call out. The assessment has led to more inmates choosing the electric chair over lethal injection, which is an option for some in Tennessee.

Lethal injection drugs have been a challenge to obtain for some states as many pharmacies and manufacturers refuse to supply the medications for executions. Most recently in South Carolina, officials decided to forge ahead with plans for a firing squad after it struggled to find the necessary drugs. That execution has since been delayed as well.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A shopper checks out an item in a Target store in Pittsburgh on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. On Friday, t...
Associated Press

US inflation and consumer spending cooled in December

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge eased further in December, and consumer spending fell — the latest evidence that the Fed’s series of interest rate hikes are slowing the economy. Friday’s report from the Commerce Department showed that prices rose 5% last month from a year earlier, down from a 5.5% year-over-year […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Federal appeals court hears case of hidden murals

Associated Press (AP) — A federal appeals court in New York is considering whether a law school in Vermont modified a pair of large murals when it concealed them behind a wall of panels against the artist’s wishes after they were considered by some in the school community to be racially offensive. Artist Sam Kerson […]
2 days ago
FILE - This undated file image provided by the United States District Court for the District of Col...
Associated Press

Man who claimed he had bomb near Capitol pleads guilty

WASHINGTON (AP) — A man who caused evacuations and an hourslong standoff with police on Capitol Hill when he claimed he had a bomb in his pickup truck outside the Library of Congress pleaded guilty on Friday to a charge of threatening to use an explosive. Floyd Ray Roseberry, of Grover, North Carolina, pleaded guilty […]
2 days ago
FILE - Ted Henifin, left, the City of Jackson water system third-party administrator, addresses med...
Associated Press

DOJ appointee releases new plan for ‘tenuous’ Jackson water

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The interim manager appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice to reform the troubled water system in Mississippi’s capital city released a new financial plan Friday to change the way Jackson bills for water and spend hundreds of millions of federal relief funds paying down the system’s debt. The plan would […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Police: 29-year-old posed as teen to enroll in high school

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A 29-year-old woman used false documents to enroll as a New Jersey high school student and attended some classes over a four-day period before her scheme was discovered last week, authorities said. It’s not yet known what the woman’s intentions were, officials said. She reportedly got the phone numbers of […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Closing prices for crude oil, gold and other commodities

Benchmark U.S. crude oil for March delivery fell $1.33 to $79.68 a barrel Friday. Brent crude for March delivery fell 81 cents to $86.66 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline for February delivery fell 2 cents to $2.59 a gallon. February heating oil fell 13 cents $3.27 a gallon. February natural gas rose 17 cents to $3.11 […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Gov. Lee: Execution report complete, will release later