Tennessee Supreme Court

Tennessee sets execution dates for 10 men

february 6, 2014

The state of Tennessee plans to execute 10 death row inmates over the next two years after changing the drug protocol to be used in lethal injections, officials said Wednesday.

The state is scheduled to execute the condemned prisoners between April 22, 2014, and Nov. 17, 2015, the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts confirmed. Three executions are scheduled this year and seven in 2015.

Gov. Bill Haslam, noting that three execution orders were handed down Friday by the state Supreme Court, told The Tennessean Wednesday that the decision to seek the executions didn’t go through him. But he said he agrees with it.

State officials asked the Tennessee Supreme Court in October for execution dates for 10 inmates, the highest number of condemned people the state has ever sought to kill at one time. The court has since ordered execution dates for nine of those men. Another inmate, Nickolus Johnson, whose execution was sought separately from the other 10, is scheduled to die April 22.

Dates have not yet been set for Lee Hall, the other man in the October group, or Donald Wayne Strouth, for whom the state requested an execution date in December.

Kelley Henry, who supervises capital punishment defense cases with the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Nashville, said it was unfortunate that so many death row inmates were being grouped together. Henry and other attorneys have asked a Davidson County judge to halt the executions over questions about the drug the state now plans to use.

“Each and every one of these cases has a story that is an example of how the death penalty system in Tennessee is broken,” she said Wednesday. “They each have different stories of ineffective counsel, of evidence that was suppressed by the state, stories of trauma and mental abuse that were never presented to a jury or a judge.”

(Source: The Tennessean)


TENNESSEE – Tenn. Supreme Court overturns death sentence – Hubert Sexton

May 30, 2012 Source : http://www.timesnews.net

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned a death sentence for a man convicted of murdering a Scott County couple in their bed and ordered that a new jury decide whether to execute him.

The state’s highest court cited numerous problems with both the evidence and sentencing phase of the murder trial of Hubert Glenn Sexton, including prosecutors making inappropriate statements to jurors and the admission of prejudicial evidence.

A Scott County jury convicted Sexton of two counts of first-degree murder for the May 2000 murders of Stanley and Terry Sue Goodman. The Goodmans were shot to death as they slept in their Huntsville home days after Sexton was accused of sexually abusing one of Stanley Goodman’s children.

In spite of the problems during the trial, the Supreme Court refused to overturn the murder convictions.

“Aside from the unfairly prejudicial nature of the inadmissible evidence and the inappropriate argument by the prosecution, however, the proof of guilt for each of the two murders was simply overwhelming,” the opinion, written by Justice Gary Wade, said. The court noted that the evidence included Sexton telling at least three of his friends that he had murdered the Goodmans.

The court said problems started even before the trial began when some people were improperly excluded as jurors. The court said jurors never should have heard allegations about the sexual abuse because Sexton had not been charged. The opinion noted that prosecutors could have elected to charge Sexton separately in the matter.

And the court said that jurors may have been prejudiced by hearing that Sexton initially agreed to take a polygraph but then changed his mind and refused. Prosecutors were also said to make inappropriate comments to jurors during opening statements and closing arguments.