The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has denied Tennessee death row inmate Edmund Zagorski a stay in execution after he alleged the state unlawfully coerced him into choosing the electric chair and not allowing his attorney access to a phone during his scheduled execution Thursday.
Zagorski, who has been on death row for 34 years, is scheduled to be executed Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. via electric chair. He was put on death watch on Tuesday.
Court documents state Zagorski’s motion for a “late-hour appeal to be meritless.”
Zagorski claims that the state of Tennessee “coerced and compelled him” to choose between electrocution or lethal injection. The court found that this claim doesn’t stand because in order for coercion to have occurred, he would have to show that he was coerced to waive his constitutional right against electrocution.
He also claimed that death by the electric chair was cruel and unusual punishment. The court found that it is not, based on constitutional law and previous cases.
For Zagorski’s appeal to have his attorney present at the execution access to a phone, the court directed the State of Tennessee to respond to the motion filed by Zagorski and subsequently ordered that the execution not proceed unless the attorney-witness is provided immediate access to a telephone during the time preceding and during the execution.
The decision was filed Wednesday, Oct. 31 just one day prior to Zagorski’s scheduled execution in Nashville.