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Pervis Payne Given Execution Reprieve Until April 2021

— November 12, 2020

On November 6, Governor Lee gave Pervis Payne, who was scheduled for execution on December 3, 2020, a reprieve until April 9, 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

November 6, 2020 Tennessee Governor Bill Lee gave Mr. Pervis Payne, a man with an intellectual disability, a reprieve on his execution date of December 3, 2020. The new date is set for April 9, 2021. Gov. Lee’s decision was based, in part, on the danger of bringing witnesses into the prison due to COVID-19.

Kelley Henry, Mr. Payne’s attorney, made the following statement:

“Governor Lee was right to delay Pervis Payne’s execution due to the Covid-19 crisis. Bringing witnesses into the prison is unsafe for them, the staff, and the prisoners. This additional time will give the Tennessee Legislature the opportunity to pass bi-partisan legislation to allow Mr. Payne’s and others’ claims of intellectual disability to be heard in court.

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Photo by Ye Jinghan on Unsplash

“The U.S. Supreme Court and the Tennessee Supreme Court has held that the execution of people with intellectual disability is unconstitutional. Currently, there is no process for people with intellectual disability in Mr. Payne’s procedural posture to have their claims heard in court. We are grateful to Rep. G.A. Hardaway and the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators for filing bi-partisan legislation to create such a procedure.”

“This additional time will also allow us to investigate Mr. Payne’s strong innocence claim, together with the Innocence Project. We are grateful to the 150 faith, legal, legislative, and community groups in Memphis and across the state that support clemency for Mr. Payne. Together with Mr. Payne’s family, we will continue the fight to prove Mr. Payne’s innocence.”

— Kelley Henry, attorney for Pervis Payne
— November 6, 2020

Background on Mr. Payne’s case is here:

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