Since 1960, Tennessee has executed just six people. If the state has its way, however, 10 more prisoners could be dead in the near future. Officials have asked the state Supreme Court for execution dates for the death row inmates, in what the Tennessean calls an "unprecedented push," and a date is already set for an 11th inmate. Says a public defender, "I’ve been representing death row inmates for two decades, and never in my experience have I ever seen a situation where a state has requested 10 execution dates all at once."
The state says all 10 inmates in question have exhausted their appeals; plus, as a spokesperson for the Attorney General's office says, "The Department could not have carried out the executions earlier because it was unable to procure all of the drugs required under the old protocol." Executions in the state have been on hold since 2011, when sodium thiopental became unavailable, and it just found a new drug in September. Attorneys for the inmates want a lower court to halt the executions until the new drug can be fully investigated.