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November 19, 2008

Debate over doctors and death protocols in NC

As reported in this local article, which is headlined "High court debates execution issue: N.C. justices chide doctors, legislators for not resolving lethal injection deadlock," the messy realities of state lethal injection protocols was the subject of appellate court conversation in North Carolina yesterday.  Here are some of the details:

The N.C. Supreme Court dove into the two-year stalemate on executions Tuesday by asking attorneys to define what legislators meant by requiring a doctor's presence when convicted murderers are put to death. The debate over the word “present” has created a de facto moratorium on executions in North Carolina.

The legal battle pits the N.C. Medical Board against the Department of Correction, which wants a doctor to make sure lethal injections are properly administered. That, the department says, guards against a violation of the constitutional law against cruel and unusual punishment.

But the medical board contends that lawmakers, in requiring a doctor's presence, only meant that the doctor should certify that an inmate was executed. Taking part in the execution by monitoring an inmate's vital signs would violate a doctor's basic mission to preserve life, the board says. That has prevented the department from finding doctors to attend executions.

During an hourlong hearing Tuesday, Associate Justice Edward Thomas Brady challenged Todd Brosius, a lawyer for the medical board, on the legislature's intent in having a doctor present.... Brady and other justices also challenged state Assistant Attorney General Joseph Finarelli, who argued that lawmakers meant for doctors to do more than attend and certify death.

The justices noted that state lawmakers had an opportunity to clarify the law with two bills filed last year. But the General Assembly did not take up the legislation. Some justices suggested that the legislature, not the courts, should resolve the stalemate. “Why don't we send this right over where it belongs?” Associate Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson asked.

November 19, 2008 at 04:23 PM | Permalink

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Thanks for sharing the good blog

Posted by: Online Doctor Appointment | Nov 21, 2008 12:20:22 AM

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