Legal Executions in Tennessee: A Comprehensive Registry, 1782—2009 - Articles

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Posted by: Donald Paine on Aug 19, 2011

Journal Issue Date: Jun 2011

Journal Name: June 2011 - Vol. 47, No. 6

By Lewis L. Laska | McFarland & Company Inc. | $95 | 484 pages | 2011

This is a reference book that will last through the ages. It is the only complete compilation of the death penalty in Tennessee. From 1782 through 2009 a total of 524 men and women were hanged, electrocuted or lethally injected for capital crimes.

One can only imagine the number of hours that Nashville lawyer Laska spent on this 12-year endeavor. We have him to thank for a task that no one else likely would have undertaken. There are 419 pages of text, followed by pages containing 3,380 footnotes. The author must have encamped in the State Library and Archives due to the relatively few appeals contained in official reports.

Even the many executions during the Civil War are included. No other researcher has done that work.

Every public library in Tennessee needs a copy. And every lawyer interested in our legal history needs one on the bookshelves at home.