PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 51/50/00
31 March 2000
Further information on EXTRA 139/99 (AMR 51/149/99, 6 October 1999) and
follow-ups (AMR 51/165/99, 13 October, AMR 51/41/00, 9 March and AMR 51/49/00,
23 March) - Death penalty / Legal concern
USA (Tennessee) Robert Glen Coe, aged 43, white
On 30 March, the Tennessee Supreme Court rescheduled Robert Glen Coe’s execution
for 1am local time on 5 April 2000. This was after US District Judge Trauger
ruled that the state court system had given him a fair hearing to assess his
mental competency for execution. She had stayed his execution 16 hours before
it was due to take place on 22 March (see previous updates).
Robert Coe was sentenced to death for the abduction, rape and murder of
eight-year-old Cary Ann Medlin in 1979. This crime fuelled support for the
death penalty in Tennessee and galvanized the “victims’ rights” movement.
Robert Coe has a history of mental illness.
Another man, Philip Ray Workman, remains scheduled for execution 24 hours after
Robert Coe. There are very serious doubts about whether he is guilty of shooting
a police officer, for which he was sentenced to die in 1982 (see UA 12/00,
AMR 51/09/00, 19 January, and update AMR 51/33/00, 24 February).
Thirty states have executed prisoners since the USA resumed judicial killing
in 1977. In an open letter to Governor Sundquist on 21 March, Amnesty
International appealed to him not to allow Tennessee to become the 31
state.(See Open letter to Governor Don Sundquist, concerning the imminent
resumption of executions in Tennessee after 40 years (AMR 51/48/00).
Please continue to send urgent appeals to Tennessee. You do not need to be
specific to either of the cases, but simply appeal in your own words for Governor
Sundquist not to allow executions to resume in Tennessee. Many thanks to all
who are taking part in this action.
The Honourable Don Sundquist
Office of the Governor
Nashville, TN 37243-0001, USA
Tel: +1 615 741 2001
Telegrams: Governor Sundquist, Nashville, TN, USA
Fax: +1 615 532 9711
Salutation: Dear Governor
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of the USA accredited to your country.
You may also write brief letters (not more than 200 words) to:
Letters to the Editor, The Tennessean, 1100 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203,
Fax: +1 615 259 8093
Letters to the Editor, The Commercial Appeal, Box 334, Memphis, TN 38101, USA
Fax: +1 901 529 6445
Letters to the Editor, Knoxville News-Sentinel, PO Box 59038, Knoxville, TN