State News

No resolution to death penalty dispute

Posted October 16, 2008

Death Row, Death Penalty, Execution

— Three hours of testimony Thursday produced no resolution to a dispute over the how the state executes inmates.

Lawyers for death row inmates and the state argued over the execution protocol approved the Council of State. Attorneys for the inmates contend the council, which is made up of Gov. Mike Easley and eight other elected state officials, shouldn't have approved a protocol for lethal injection.

Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison Jr. ruled the method for executing inmates didn't ensure they wouldn't feel pain, and he ordered the council to revise the protocol. The council refused to do so.

Attorneys for the state maintain Morrison didn't have jurisdiction over the case, so Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens said he would rule on the merits of whether inmates – or anyone – has the right to challenge how the Council of State operates.

But Stephens said he wouldn't hear the case until after the state Supreme Court rules on a separate dispute involving the death penalty.

That case, which Stephens handled last year, revolves around a North Carolina Medical Board policy that threatens to discipline any doctor who participates in an execution.

The high court is scheduled to hear arguments in that case on Nov. 18.

The two court cases have created a de facto moratorium on the death penalty in the state. North Carolina hasn't executed an inmate since August 2006.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • SANDHILL Oct 17, 2008

    Are any of these spineless judges up for reelection? If so we should all keep this in mind when we make our choice as to who gets our vote.

  • tbajr Oct 17, 2008

    I think those being put to death should decide for themselves,
    lethal injection or firing squad!

  • OrdinaryCitizen Oct 16, 2008

    I just don't get this country.

  • ridgerunner Oct 16, 2008

    Where is the concern for the pain they have inflicted on their victims and their families. So they feel some pain, it will not last long.

  • WHEEL Oct 16, 2008

    It looks like we have too many judges contradicting each other, too many bleeding heart Attorneys, and a Council of State that doesn't have guts enough to do the job that 75% of the population wants done.

  • White Cross Oct 16, 2008

    NC had the electric chair before the gas chamber.It worked fine.No one it was used on never complained afterward,plus they never commited another crime,capital or otherwise.
    It would also serve as more of a deterent than just being gently put to sleep.

  • Justin T. Oct 16, 2008

    Lawyers. I hope their conscience feels pain.

    This is all about stalling so the the guilty maniacs on death row can avoid their well deserved punishment.

  • entryrejected Oct 16, 2008

    personally i don't care if they feel pain or not. they are on death row for a reason people. its not like we put them in the electric chair anymore or gas them....

  • rlewis Oct 16, 2008

    NC needs to restart executions. It is a little silly to argue that the condemned shouldn't feel any pain during an execution when logically the more damaging aspect of an execution (from the perspective of the convict) is the taking of his life. If the taking of his life is constitutional then any pain involved is secondary and irrelevant.

    These are simply not valid arguments being made by the lawyers against the use of the death penalty in NC. They are stall tactics--and judges need to treat them as such.

  • Outside the Beltline Oct 16, 2008

    The government should not have the ability to kill its citizens. It's just too much power, and as we have seen, once the government does get the power to do something, it's inevitable that they will misuse or try to extend that power. As an example, look at eminent domain power through the years. It's gone from a rare government function to something that's done at the drop of a hat.

    I have no sympathy for murderers, but we can't afford to have loopholes or our government is sure to exploit them.