What If The Executioner Jumps The Gun?

I’ve noticed that for all of the executions that I’ve read about, the lethal injection is scheduled to occur at precisely 12:01 am on the day for which the execution has been scheduled.

What happens is the person designated to give the injection gets tired of waiting around and gives the injection a few minutes early? Is he an executioner, or is he a murderer??

What if he decided to give the injection at 4:00 in the afternoon, so he wouldn’t miss the game that night? Is he guilty of murder then??

Please explain the exact circumstances necessary in order for a person performing an execution to NOT be considered a murderer.


IMHO, he’s a murderer. It seems to me that he’s legally privileged to kill another human being so long as he follows the instructions of the State. If he wanders outside of those guidelines, his privilege is lost, IMHO.

Now, in the situation you describe, the prosecutor might decide not to prosecute him. (He would almost certainly lose his job, however.) If he were prosecuted, I imagine his sentence would not be too harsh.


IMHO, if the executioner follows the instructions of the State, he’s probably ok. I imagine that a deviation that was minor, inadvertant, and/or immaterial, would be ok. So, a few seconds either way would probably not be a problem. But executing a person a few minutes early is a significant deviation IMHO.

Just shooting from the hip, of course.

and . . . (standard disclaimer about legal advice, in case any executioners happen to be reading this.)

An executioner is not guilty of murder because the execution is justifiable homicide. Seriously–I’ve seen death certificates for executed prisoners, and they list the cause of death as “Homicide, lethal injection” or something similar. Anyway, here are the relevant provisions from the Texas Penal Code:


A question about an exceedingly unlikely event. I suppose if the needle guy sneaked into death row, past all guards and through all the gates, in the dead of night, a murder indictment would be possible.

After all, until all avenues of appeal have been exhausted you aren’t certain that the person who was sentenced is really a goner.

Premature execution, eh?

I suggest the guy relax and think about baseball.

I freely admit I’m no help whatsoever.