Local Politics

Third Execution Put on Hold

Posted January 26, 2007

— A day after halting two executions over concerns that the absence of a physician could lead to an inhumane death, a Wake County judge on Friday blocked a third execution on the same grounds.

Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens issued an injunction late Friday afternoon to prevent the state from executing James Adolph Campbell, who had been scheduled to die on Feb. 9.

The executions of Marcus Robinson and James Edward Thomas were put on hold Thursday when Stephens ruled that a new policy prohibiting physicians from participating in executions would prevent the state from carrying out the death penalty.

State law requires a physician be present as inmates are given a lethal injection of drugs to ensure the death isn't cruel and unusual, which would violate the state and federal constitutions. But the North Carolina Medical Board last week approved a policy that said physicians risk their licenses if they participate in executions.

The dispute has led at least one state official to call for an emergency meeting of the Council of State to resolve the issue.

"I believe we should resolve this as quickly as possible," Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said, noting that the Council of State isn't scheduled to meet until next month.

The primary function of the nine-member group, made up of statewide elected officials from Gov. Mike Easley to Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler to Auditor Les Merritt, is to finalize state property sales and leases.

Berry said most members had no idea state law also made them responsible for approving the manner of execution for Death Row inmates.

"We just didn't realize it, and we're kind of blind-sided by it," she said.

Berry expressed frustration that Easley and Attorney General Roy Cooper haven't contacted her to consider ways to satisfy legal conflicts over the role of doctors in state executions. She said physicians could easily be taken out of the process.

"I would have no problem with nurses and paramedics being the qualified (medical) personnel" needed at executions, she said.

Easley's office said he wouldn't comment on legal matters.

Treasurer Richard Moore, another Council of State member and a likely gubernatorial candidate in 2008, issued a statement late Friday saying that he believes the death penalty is warranted for certain crimes but that Stephens' ruling would drive the needed debate over justice and ethics.

This story is closed for comments.

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  • Joy4u2 Jan 31, 2007

    I agree leta go back to the old days when you are charged with murder hang them right now not 9 or 10 year's down the road. They take our hard earned tax money and live real good on on it. I also find it just like 24 says, you can go to a physician and get a abortion and kill a child thats never done nothing to no body, they too will pay. They will have to stand in in the face of our Lord Jesus Christ for killing all the inocent babie's.

  • browneyedgirl Jan 30, 2007

    They are a waste of space and air, get it over with instead of convicting them and waiting 5 years later. Do it ASAP!!!!!! And don't convict them if ya ain't gonna do it.

  • tonynjens Jan 30, 2007

    I am so glad that there are finally some people that will stand up for the death penalty. You alswyas have people protesting against it, but why are there not people out there pushing it?

  • atheistswillserveinhell Jan 27, 2007

    This conspiracy to defraud the voters is getting sleazier by the minute....

  • jpalmer Jan 27, 2007

    My brother was murdered March 26, 1996. I would ABSOLUTELY NO HESITATION in puting these pieces of crap out to death. They are lucky that all they have to do is go to sleep. Try getting shot in the abdomen point blank range with a 12 gage shotgun. You think that hurt? My brother and many victims like him died a horrible death.

    I suggest that we go back to the gas chamber or hanging. If america would grow a spine and enforce the death penalty where there is no possible doubt of guilt we would become a better society. I assure that crack heads would stop and think. How about the guy who kidnapped the lady from the dowmtown parking garage last year and murdered her. KILL HIS ASS TODAY!! The next crack head who gets all twisted and wants to do something similar will damn sure stop and think twice. Have hangings on the lawn at central prison. Send a mesage to the scum of society. As lond as these guys dont fear the potential for SWITH and SURE justice they will keep righ on

  • loveforlynsey Jan 27, 2007

    I totally agree with Ncsufamily24. Our legal system is a complete joke. A physician can perform an abortion and kill a child but cannot be present during the execution of a criminal.

  • builder276 Jan 27, 2007

    Just put them out of our misery

  • builder276 Jan 27, 2007

    I will volunteer my services to act as "doctor" to watch these 3 fry

  • countrygirl30 Jan 27, 2007

    This is ridiculus, they murdered people. Why should they get to die in piece, their victims didnt. That is so cruel to the victims family. I think the families of these victims have suffered long enough. Once you have committed a hanus crime like murder or any dealing with a child, you should be stripped of all your rights. Let them die like their victims then. Let them feel what their victims felt before their last breath was taken.

  • ncsufamily24 Jan 27, 2007

    What hypocrisy! The North Carolina Medical Board approving a policy which prohibits physicians from participating in state executions. Death row crimminals!

    Where's your damn concern when you have physicians involved in abortions? And you speak of inhumane, cruel and unusual deaths?

    You're a bunch of politically correct cowards..........