Tennessee's Death Row is Disproportionately 50% Black. From [HERE] The Tennessee Supreme Court has denied a request from the state's attorney general to schedule eight executions before the June 1, 2018 expiration date of Tennessee's supply of one of its execution drugs.
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery had filed the request on February 14, saying that scheduling executions "after June 1, 2018 is uncertain due to the ongoing difficulty in obtaining the necessary lethal injection chemicals."
The court's March 15, 2018 order did not explain why it rejected the request, but it did set two execution dates to be carried out later in the year.
The court scheduled the execution of Edmund Zagorski for October 11 and set a December 6 execution date for David Earl Miller. Three other Tennessee death-row prisoners already had execution dates this year, though two of them—James Hawkins and Sedrick Clayton—have not yet completed their appeals.
Thirty-three Tennessee death-row prisoners are challenging the state's use of midazolam as part of its execution protocol, arguing that the protocol "amounts to torturing prisoners to death." The prisoners cite botched executions in other states that have used midazolam, including Dennis McGuire in Ohio, Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma, Joseph Wood in Arizona, and Ronald Smith in Alabama. Because of that litigation and the Attorney General's statements about the unavailability of lethal-injection drugs, Tennessee's ability to carry out any of the scheduled executions remains uncertain.
The state prosecutor's request was reminiscent of Arkansas's controversial attempt in April 2017 to carry out eight executions over the span of eleven days before its supply of midazolam expired. Four of those executions were stayed and witnesses reported indications that two of the executed prisoners—Jack Jones and Kenneth WIlliams—remained conscious during the execution process after the midazolam was supposed to have rendered them insensate.