House Minority Leader Jason Mumpower (R-Bristol) and House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada (R-Franklin) today asked both Gov. Phil Bredesen and Attorney General Bob Cooper to join as a “friend of the court” with the state of Kentucky in fighting to uphold lethal injection as a method to carry out the state’s death penalty law.
While the letter is the second by the House Republican leaders asking the Governor to join Kentucky as they appeal the case of Baze v. Rees, it is the first requesting that Attorney General Bob Cooper do so.
“The General Assembly has worked hard to ensure that the death penalty is only carried out in a fair manner and only reserved for the ‘worst of the worst.’ Justice delayed is justice denied; it’s that simple,” stated Leader Mumpower.
“This is about defending Tennessee’s laws and constitution,” added Chairman Casada. “We want to make sure that the process is as fair as possible, I believe the governor and I can agree on that. But we cannot continue to let justice pass for the victims.”
In October, the leaders asked Gov. Bredesen to request the attorney general to join as a “friend of the court” with the state of Kentucky in fighting to uphold lethal injection as a method to carry out the state’s death penalty law.
They said at that time, "the governor rebuffed the request by saying that any such court proceedings up to the attorney general,” prompting the House Republican leaders to contact Attorney General Cooper as well.
The action came after the United States Supreme Court agreed to consider the constitutionality of lethal injection in the Kentucky case of Ralph Baze and Thom Bowling. Lethal injection is used to carry out the death sentence in 37 states, many of which are now on hold due to the court action. Similarly, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals case interrupted plans to carry out the death sentence of Edward Jerome Harbison based on Judge Trauger’s decision that lethal injection could “result in a terrifying, excruciating death.”