That's the title of a report in today's Tennessean written by Brian Haas. It's subtitled, "State hasn't put a prisoner to death in 4 years. A new drug could change that, but it's in short supply, too." It's also available from WBIR-TV. Here's the beginning:
Tennessee’s barely functioning death penalty is on the verge of revival after state officials finally settled on a new lethal injection drug and scheduled a man to die for the first time in more than a year.
But the state’s new method is already running into trouble in other states, thanks to new problems acquiring drugs for executions.
The state hasn’t had any drugs to perform lethal injections since its supply of sodium thiopental was seized by federal law enforcement agencies in April 2011 over questions about how it was obtained. It hasn’t put anyone to death in nearly four years and hadn’t had an execution scheduled since February 2012.
But last month, the state said it had solved its lethal injection drug problem by switching to pentobarbital, an anesthetic most commonly used to euthanize pets. State officials scheduled Nickolus Johnson, convicted of killing a policeman in Bristol in 2004, to die on April 22, 2014, at 7:10 p.m.
That year-and-a-half delay came in part so Tennessee corrections officials could see how the new drug stood up to challenges in states such as Ohio and Texas. State officials also were waiting for a law to keep information about how the state obtained its lethal injection drugs secret from the public.
If Tennessee were to clear those legal hurdles, it would open the door to begin the process of putting Johnson and 78 other convicted murderers to death. The condemned — 78 men and one woman — have been waiting on death row an average of just under 20 years, seven of them for more than three decades.
Earlier coverage from Tennessee begins at the link.