Death row fast track: Conservatives eliminate criminal appeals court in death penalty cases

Bill heads to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk for final approval

Conservatives in the Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill to eliminate the court of criminal appeals in death penalty cases.

The bill sponsor, Rep. Mary Littleton, R-Dickson, said the purpose of the bill was to expedite the death penalty.

Opponents said removing the criminal court of appeals only increases the likelihood that state of Tennessee will put an innocent person to death. In Tennesse, more than half of death penalty convictions since 1977 have been reversed or vacated.

The bill cleared both the House and Senate last week.

Read previous coverage of House Bill 258 / Senate Bill 400 here.

How they voted: House of Representatives, March 18:
Members voting for the bill:
Rep. Charlie Baum, R-Murfreesboro, District 37
Rep. Clark Boyd, R-Lebanon, District 46
Rep. Rush Bricken, R-Tullahoma, District 47
Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro, District 71
Rep. Kent Calfee, R-Kingston, District 32
Rep. Dale Carr, R-Sevierville, District 12
Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, District 29
Speaker Glen Casada, R-Franklin, District 63
Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, District 64
Rep. Mark Cochran, R-Englewood, District 23
Rep. Jim Coley, R-Bartlett, District 97
Rep. John Crawford, R-Kingsport, District 1
Rep. Michael Curcio, R-Dickson, District 69
Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville, District 18
Rep. Clay Doggett, R-Pulaski, District 70
Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, District 16
Rep. Rick Eldridge, R-Morristown, District 10
Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, District 11
Rep. Andrew Farmer, R-Sevierville, District 17
Rep. Ron Gant, R-Rossville, District 94
Rep. Johnny Garrett, R-Goodlettsville, District 45
Rep. Bruce Griffey, R-Paris, District 75
Rep. Curtis Halford, R-Dyer, District 79
Rep. Mark Hall, R-Cleveland, District 24
Rep. Kirk Haston, R-Lobelville, District 72
Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, District 5
Rep. Patsy Hazelwood, R-Signal Mountain, District 27
Rep. Esther Helton, R-East Ridge, District 30
Rep. Gary Hicks, R-Rogersville, District 9
Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, District 7
Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, District 3
Rep. John Holsclaw, Jr., R-Elizabethton, District 4
Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, District 76
Rep. Dan Howell, R-Cleveland, District 22
Rep. Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport, District 2
Rep. Chris Hurt, R-Halls, District 82
Rep. Curtis Johnson, R-Clarksville, District 68
Rep. Kelly Keisling, R-Byrdstown, District 38
Rep. Sabi Kumar, R-Springfield, District 66
Rep. William Lamberth, R-Portland, District 44
Rep. Tom Leatherwood, R-Arlington, District 99
Rep. Mary Littleton, R-Dickson, District 78
Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, District 57
Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville, District 62
Rep. Debra Moody, R-Covington, District 81
Rep. Jerome Moon, R-Maryville, District 8
Rep. Brandon Ogles, R-Franklin, District 61
Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, District 33
Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville, District 20
Rep. Jay Reedy, R-Erin, District 74
Rep. Tim Rudd, R-Murfreesboro, District 34
Rep. Iris Rudder, R-Winchester, District 39
Rep. Lowell Russell, R-Vonore, District 21
Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton, District 77
Rep. Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, District 25
Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station, District 35
Rep. Paul Sherrell, R-Sparta, District 43
Rep. Robin Smith, R-Hixson, District 26
Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna, District 49
Rep. Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro, District 48
Rep. Chris Todd, R-Jackson, District 73
Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton, District 31
Rep. James “Micah” Van Huss, R-Gray, District 6
Rep. Kevin Vaughan, R-Collierville, District 95
Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster, District 40
Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, District 83
Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin, District 65
Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville, District 42
Rep. Dave Wright, R-Corryton, District 19
Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville, District 14

Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis, District 90
Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Nashville, District 56
Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, District 41

Representatives voting against the bill:
Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, District 51
Rep. Karen Camper, D-Memphis, District 87
Rep. Jesse Chism, D-Memphis, District 85
Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, District 55
Rep. Barbara Cooper, D-Memphis, District 86
Rep. Vincent Dixie, D-Nashville, District 54
Rep. Yusuf Hakeem, D-Chattanooga, District 28
Rep. G. A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, District 93
Rep. Jason Hodges, D-Clarksville, District 67
Rep. Darren Jernigan, D-Old Hickory, District 60
Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, District 13
Rep. London Lamar, D-Memphis, District 91
Rep. Harold Love, Jr., D-Nashville, District 58
Rep. Larry Miller, D-Memphis, District 88
Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville, District 50
Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis, District 98
Rep. Jason Potts, D-Nashville, District 59
Rep. Jason Powell, D-Nashville, District 53
Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Bolivar, District 80
Rep. Rick Staples, D-Knoxville, District 15
Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, District 52
Rep. Joe Towns, Jr., D-Memphis, District 84

Present Not Voting:
Rep. Justin Lafferty, R-Knoxville, District 89
Rep. Dwayne Thompson, D-Cordova, District 96

Absent, Missed Vote:
Rep. Dennis Powers, R-Jacksboro, District 36
Rep. Rick Tillis, R-Lewisberg, District 92

How they voted: Senate, March 21:
Senators voting for the bill:
Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta, District 15
Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, District 9
Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma, District 16
Sen. Richard Briggs, R-Knoxville, District 7
Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, District 3
Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, District 10
Sen. Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville, District 26
Sen. Ferrell Haile, R-Gallatin, District 18
Sen. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, District 28
Sen. Ed Jackson, R-Jackson, District 27
Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, District 23
Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, District 31
Sen. Rosalind Kurita, I-Clarksville, District 22
Sen. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, District 4
Sen. Becky Massey, R-Knoxville, District 6
Lt. Governor Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, District 5
Sen. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, District 17
Sen. Shane Reeves, R-Murfreesboro, District 14
Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Springfield, District 25
Sen. Paul Rose, R-Covington, District 32
Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown, District 1
Sen. John Stevens, R-Huntingdon, District 24
Sen. Art Swann, R-Maryville, District 2
Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, District 11
Sen. Dawn White, R-Murfreesboro, District 13
Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston, District 12

Senators voting against the bill:
Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, District 20

Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, District 29
Sen. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, District 19
Sen. Sara Kyle, D-Memphis, District 30
Sen. Katrina Robinson, D-Memphis, District 33
Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, District 21

Absent or did not vote:
Sen. Frank Nicely, R-Strawberry Plains, District 8