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Harbison v. Little

United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
511 F. Supp. 2d 872 (2007)


Edward Jerome Harbison (defendant) was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to death. Harbison appealed, petitioned for post-conviction relief, and petitioned for habeas corpus; Harbison's conviction and sentence were upheld in each of these proceedings. Tennessee adopted a new lethal-injection protocol that provided for the administration of three drugs, sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride, in quick succession without checking to see if the prisoner was unconscious. The last two drugs would cause an agonizing death without sufficient anesthesia. Due to the particular risks associated with pancuronium bromide, that drug was not permitted for use in euthanizing animals under Tennessee law. Harbison filed an amended complaint in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, asserting that his scheduled execution under the state's new lethal-injection protocol violated his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Trauger, J.)

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