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"Complete Idiots" in the Execution Chamber

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October 29, 2007

On Saturday, the Tennessean published an op-ed by Chris Hill, the Capital Punishment Project’s States Strategies Coordinator. Chris wrote about Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen’s inadequate “fix” to the state’s flawed lethal injection protocol. A federal judge immediately found the new procedure unconstitutional in September. In the Tennessean, Chris writes:

Judge Aleta Trauger held that the new protocol would cause a “substantial risk of unnecessary pain.” Judge Trauger also included in her opinion a quote by Dr. Jay Chapman, the medical examiner who invented the three-drug cocktail used in state-sanctioned lethal injections. Dr. Chapman stated that “it never occurred to me when we set this up that we’d have complete idiots administering the drugs.”

The op-ed also includes a description of the death row warden’s less-than-stellar credentials for overseeing executions, and the role of poor lawyering in the state’s criminal justice system.