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May 24, 2014

U.S. execution methods

NORMAN — Tennessee this week became the first state to enact a law allowing officials to electrocute inmates, regardless of their wishes, in certain circumstances. Six other states allow inmates to opt for the electric chair, while a seventh would move to electrocution if lethal injection were ever banned.

Here is a look at laws regarding the electric chair and other execution methods in the U.S.:

ELECTRIC CHAIR

Seven states allow or would allow electrocution as a secondary option if lethal injection is unavailable or if inmate chooses it:

· Alabama: Injection is used unless an inmate requests death by electrocution. Gov. Robert Bentley said on May 5 that he is against switching back to the electric chair whenever the state resumes putting inmates to death.

· Arkansas: Injection is used for inmates whose offense occurred on or after July 4, 1983; those who committed the offense before that date may select injection or electrocution.

· Florida: Inmates may choose between injection and electrocution. Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews said there has been no discussion about changing Florida execution procedures and that the state has a stockpile of drugs that will take care of its needs for about two years.

· Kentucky: Injection is used for all inmates convicted after March 31, 1998. Inmates convicted before that time may choose injection or electrocution. If the inmate declines to choose, injection is the method. Kentucky is under a judge’s order not to take any steps to carry out an execution.

· Oklahoma: Uses electrocution if lethal injection is ever held to be unconstitutional.

· South Carolina: Inmates choose between injection and electrocution.

· Tennessee: Injection is used for those whose capital offense occurred after Dec. 31, 1998; those who committed the offense before that date may select electrocution by written waiver. Electrocution now is also authorized if lethal injection drugs are not available.

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