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January 25, 2007

Lethal injection issues halt NC executions

As detailed here, there was good reason to suspect that North Carolina's scheduled execution for this might get disrupted by the lethal injection debate.   And, as detailed here by the AP, the lethal injection scrummages have brought down yet another state's death penalty plans:

A judge on Thursday stopped two executions scheduled within the next eight days, saying a recent decision to change the role a doctor must play in the process must be approved by the governor and the Council of State.

North Carolina law requires a doctor be present at executions and until recently, they helped monitor a patient's vital signs.  But the North Carolina Medical Board decided last week that any participation by a doctor, beyond merely attending the execution, violated its ethics policy.  In a filing in a separate case that cited the medical board's decision, the state said Monday a doctor would no longer monitor the inmate's vital signs, a duty it has turned over to a nurse and emergency medical technician.

Citing a law from 1909 that requires the governor and the council of state to approve any change in the execution process, Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens ordered Thursday the executions of Marcus Reymond Robinson and James Edward Thomas be halted until they do so. "I believe this is a significant change in the execution protocol," Stephens said. "In order to carry out an execution under these circumstances the governor and Council of State should review that protocol and approve it."

Once again, I cannot help but comment that my prediction of a record-low number of executions in 2007 is looking pretty solid as of right now.  Of course, that could change with a notable SCOTUS decision or two.

January 25, 2007 at 01:02 PM | Permalink

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Comments

It shouldn't take another disgusting and painful botched execution to require that competent medical personnel administer the drugs. It's really not that hard...why can't they get it right?

Posted by: rothmatisseko | Jan 25, 2007 6:33:15 PM

Doug, it also looks like Texas prisoners will make up a higher percentage of the body count, as will volunteers. Including the expected execution (dates in sidebar) of volunteer Christopher Swift on the 30th, it looks like through February there will "only" be five executions, which is almost biweekly. Quite the downturn. Texas will kill five of those seven prisoners.

Posted by: rothmatisseko | Jan 25, 2007 7:20:38 PM

I would note that the stays in North Carolina are not being appealed & that the trial court judge who entered the stays is a veteran of the NC Attorney General's office for capital litigation.

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Posted by: DFDF | Jul 29, 2007 1:17:48 AM

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