A federal judge has just blocked next week's execution of Jerome Harbison. District Judge Aleta Trauger ruled that Tennessee's lethal injection procedures violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusal punishment by presenting "a substantial risk of unnecessary pain."
At the same time, Trauger denounced state Correction Commissioner George Little for rejecting the recommendations of a committee that studied execution procedures this year. The committee, conducting a review that Gov. Phil Bredesen ordered, offered recommendations to safeguard against botched executions. But Trauger said Little "was deliberately indifferent to [Harbison's] excessive risk of pain."This article
in this week's Scene
details testimony in this month's hearing before Trauger on lethal injection.
The state Attorney General will amost certainly appeal Trauger's decision to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.