Gov. Lee signs bill to nix 1 court death penalty review

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Tennessee electric chair

Tennessee is removing one state court’s review before executing inmates under legislation signed by Republican Gov. Bill Lee.

With Lee’s approval Tuesday, Tennessee in July will begin skipping the state Court of Criminal Appeals and provide automatic state Supreme Court death penalty reviews.

Lee spokeswoman Laine Arnold has said the governor was deferring to the Legislature’s will on the legislation.

Court of Criminal Appeals Judge John Everett Williams has said his court’s last four death penalty reviews took three to six months. Federal courts account for most of sometimes-three-decades in death penalty court reviews.

Tennessee executed three inmates in 2018. Four executions are scheduled this year.

The law is named for Dickson County Sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Baker, who was killed in May. Two people are approaching trial over Baker’s death.

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