Local News

N.C. Medical Board Policy Could Affect State Executions

Posted January 17, 2007 7:51 p.m. EST
Updated January 17, 2007 8:59 p.m. EST

Death Row, Execution (Generic)
The North Carolina Medical Board took a step Wednesday toward approving a measure that could have an impact on capital punishment in the state.

The board's Policy Committee voted unanimously to pass a new policy that prohibits doctors from taking part in executions.

Under North Carolina law, doctors do not administer the lethal injection, but must be present when an execution takes place in case something goes wrong.

The new proposed policy states that a doctor can be present for an execution, but cannot in any way participate in the process. Doctors who violate the policy could lose their licenses.

"It's hard for me to imagine a medical professional put in that position would risk his license," death penalty opponent Roberta Bas said.

Protestors holding a vigil at the State Capitol for Marcus Reymond Robinson, 33, whose execution is set for Jan. 26, weighed in on the decision.

"I would not want to go to a doctor I knew had a part in putting someone to death," protestor Scott Bass said.

If the full board votes in favor of the policy Thursday afternoon, state lawmakers will have to decide how future executions would be handled in North Carolina.

Two other executions are scheduled at Raleigh's Central Prison: James Edward Thomas on Feb. 2 and James Adoph Campbell on Feb. 9.

A clemency hearing for Robinson was held in Raleigh on Wednesday. Hearings have also been scheduled for Thomas and Campbell.

Death penalty opponents plan to keep pushing for a moratorium on executions. They say three deaths in three weeks might at least raise awareness about flaws in the state's judicial system.