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Federal attorneys want moratorium, probe after Tennessee execution halted

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Tenn. Death Row inmate Oscar Franklin Smith

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — After an undisclosed “oversight” forced Tennessee to abruptly cancel the execution of Oscar Smith last week, his attorneys are asking for a moratorium on executions and a review of the state’s execution protocols.

Federal public defenders in Nashville sent a letter to Gov. Bill Lee on Thursday requesting a halt to executions to allow an independent review of what went wrong.

Lee has not explained why the execution was called off. He originally said he would do so this week and now says details will be released Monday.

Federal Public Defender Kelley Henry says the secrecy and delay undermines faith in the state's ability to carry out an impartial investigation.