Bill to nix 1 court death penalty review goes to governor

Journalist Recalls Witnessing Executions
Posted at 1:28 PM, Mar 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-21 18:42:23-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers are sending Gov. Bill Lee a proposal to remove one state court's review before executing inmates. The Republican appears poised to sign it.

The Senate voted 27-6 Thursday for Republican Sen. John Stevens' legislation the "Sergeant Daniel Baker Act." It would skip Tennessee's Court of Criminal Appeals and provide automatic state Supreme Court death penalty reviews. One Republican voted no.

The House already passed it.

Lee spokeswoman Laine Arnold says the governor is deferring to the Legislature's will on the bill, indicating he'll likely sign it.

Court of Criminal Appeals Judge John Everett Williams has said his court's last four death penalty reviews took three to six months. Federal courts account for most of the sometimes-three-decades of death penalty court reviews.

Tennessee executed three inmates in 2018. Four executions are scheduled this year.