Tennessee can lawfully electrocute inmates, says State AG - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Tennessee can lawfully electrocute inmates, says State Attorney General

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Ricky Bell, then the warden at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, gives a tour of the prison's execution chamber in 1999 with both the electric chair and the lethal injection gurney. AP photo Ricky Bell, then the warden at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, gives a tour of the prison's execution chamber in 1999 with both the electric chair and the lethal injection gurney. AP photo

NASHVILLE, TN (AP) - The State Attorney General says Tennessee can lawfully use the electric chair on death row inmates if drugs used for lethal injection are not available.

Attorney General Bob Cooper's written legal opinion was issued this week as state lawmakers consider a bill that would allow condemned prisoners to be electrocuted if lethal injection is thwarted by big drug companies or the courts.

The move comes against the backdrop of a European-led boycott on sales of sedatives to American prisons and legal challenges to drugs made by compounding pharmacies.

Tennessee has not executed a prisoner since 2009. Part of the delay was because the state did not have one of the drugs used for lethal injection. The only execution by electric chair in the modern era in Tennessee was in 2007.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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