Year of Reenactment
(since 1972 suspension)
Year of First Execution
(since reenactment)

1858-1912: hanging

1913-1914: electrocution

1915-1916: no death penalty

1917-1998: electrocution

1999-present: lethal injection

Current Method
Lethal injection

Choice between lethal injection or electrocution if the inmate was sentenced before January 1, 1999. If the state cannot obtain lethal injection drugs, it may use the electric chair.


Tennessee has life without parole.  A jury decides the sentence.  The Governor has absolute power over clemency. The Board of Pardons considers and makes non-binding recommendations concerning all requests for commutation. The Governor may also commute a death sentence to life imprisonment when the State Supreme Court finds that the punishment should be commuted.

In 2000, Tennessee had its first execution since the death penalty was reinstated. Robert Coe, who was suffering from severe mental illness at the time of the crime, was executed on April 19, 2000.

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