STEPHEN MICHAEL WEST ET AL. v. DERRICK D. SCHOFIELD ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Barry Kolar on Jul 2, 2015

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General & Reporter; Andre´e Blumstein, Solicitor General; Jennifer L. Smith, Deputy Attorney General; Linda D. Kirklen and Scott Sutherland, Assistant Attorneys General (at trial), for the appellants, Derrick Schofield, Wayne Carpenter, Tony Mays, Jason Woodall, Tony Parker, and John Doe Physicians, Pharmacists, Medical Examiners, Medical Personnel, and Executioners. ?? Stephen M. Kissinger and Susanne Bales, Assistant Federal Community Defenders, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Stephen Michael West, Nicholas Todd Sutton, and David Earl Miller.

Attorneys 2:

C. Gene Shiles, Jr., and William J. Rieder, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Billy Ray Irick.

Kelley J. Henry, Supervisory Assistant Federal Public Defender, and Michael J. Passino, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Abu-Ali Abdur?Rahman, Donald R. Johnson, Donald Wayne Strouth, Charles Walton Wright, and Edmund George Zagorski.

Kelly A. Gleason and Jonathan King, Assistant Post-Conviction Defenders, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Lee Hall, Jr.

Robert C. Goodrich, Jr. and J. Patrick Warfield, Nashville, Tennessee, for the amici curiae, Edward Michael Bearman, C. Dewey Branstetter, Jr., L. Webb Campbell, II, Donald Capparella, David M. Eldridge, Claiborne H. Ferguson, Jason Gichner, Robert C. Goodrich, Jr., Daniel A. Horwitz, William Howell, Steven Ross Johnson, William Leader, Bradley A. MacLean, Cynthia W. MacLean, H. E. Miller, Jr., John G. Oliva, Edgar Rothschild, Gregory D. Smith, Christopher Slobogin, Matthew Sweeney, James G. Thomas, and J. Patrick Warfield.

Judge(s): CLARK

We granted this extraordinary appeal to determine whether, in this declaratory judgment action, the death-sentenced inmates? claims challenging the constitutionality of a 2014 statute that designated electrocution as an alternative method of execution and the constitutionality of electrocution as a means of execution should be dismissed as unripe. Because the death-sentenced inmates are not currently subject to execution by electrocution and will not ever become subject to execution by electrocution unless one of two statutory contingencies occurs in the future, their claims challenging the constitutionality of the 2014 statute and electrocution as a means of execution are not ripe. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court?s decision denying the defendants? motion to dismiss, dismiss the death-sentenced inmates? electrocution claims as unripe, and remand this matter to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

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