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Gov. Lee suspends all executions through 2022

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee(WMC)
Published: May. 2, 2022 at 6:46 AM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Governor Bill Lee announced on Monday morning that all scheduled executions will be paused for the remainder of 2022.

In the announcement, Governor Lee said he has called for a third-party review of the lethal injection testing oversight that led him to grant Oscar Smith a temporary reprieve.

“An investigation by a respected third-party will ensure any operational failures at TDOC are thoroughly addressed,” said Lee. “We will pause scheduled executions through the end of 2022 in order to allow for the review and corrective action to be put in place.”

The Governor is placing the independent review in the hands of former U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton, whose job will be to uncover what led to mistakes in testing the lethal injection chemicals, provide more clarity during the lethal injection process and address staffing issues within the Tennessee Department of Corrections.

“I review each death penalty case and believe it is an appropriate punishment for heinous crimes,” said Lee. “However, the death penalty is an extremely serious matter, and I expect the Tennessee Department of Correction to leave no question that procedures are correctly followed.”

Oscar Smith’s execution was one of five executions scheduled to take place this year. The Tennessee Supreme Court will determine rescheduled dates for the 2022 executions. Smith’s defense team released a statement following Governor Lee’s decision on Monday morning:

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