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Tennessee Supreme Court denies stay of execution request for Death row inmate Lee Hall

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Posted at 4:29 PM, Dec 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-04 13:20:18-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Tennessee Supreme Court denied death row inmate Lee Hall's request for a stay of execution.

The request centered around possible bias of a juror who helped hand down the original death sentence decades ago.

The Court found that Hall wouldn't have likely succeeded in his claim of juror bias and failed to persuade the high court to create a "new, previously unrecognized procedure based on the facts of this case." Hall's execution is scheduled for Thursday.

However, Supreme Court Justice Sharon Le dissented, saying she would have issued a stay of execution.

Hall's legal team released the a statement following the court's ruling:

Today the Tennessee Supreme Court held that the state can execute Lee Hall on Thursday, denying him the right to present evidence of unconstitutional jury bias to an appellate court that recently overturned a conviction on the same grounds.
This ruling is a rush to the electric chair. As a result of the Court’s haste, Tennessee may soon become the second state in history to execute a blind man.
In her dissent, Justice Lee found that the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals was likely to overturn Mr. Hall’s conviction based on the evidence of a serious constitutional violation in his trial. But the Supreme Court’s ruling today means that the Court of Appeals will never have the opportunity to consider this evidence.
Just eight days ago, Justice Lee noted, the Court of Appeals overturned a conviction in a strikingly similar case involving undisclosed jury bias—just as it did on at least two prior occasions.
“Finality is well and good, but should not trump fairness and justice,” Justice Lee wrote. “The State should not electrocute Mr. Hall before giving him the opportunity for meaningful appellate review of the important constitutional issues asserted in his filings.”

Hall was moved to death watch Tuesday and his execution is set for Thursday.

In Tennessee, inmates on death watch are placed in a cell next to the execution chamber for a three-day period in which they're under 24-hour surveillance.

Governor Bill Lee said on Wednesday he would not intervene in the execution.

"The justice system has extensively reviewed Lee Hall's case over the course of almost 30 years, including additional review and rulings by the Tennessee Supreme Court yesterday and today," he said. "The judgement and sentence stand based on these findings, and I will not intervene in the case."

Hall was convicted of killing Traci Crozier in 1991 in Chattanooga. He set her car on fire while she was still inside.

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