Local News

State Leaders Might Take Up Execution Issue

Posted January 31, 2007 5:28 p.m. EST
Updated January 31, 2007 9:35 p.m. EST

Death Row, Death Penalty, Execution
— North Carolina's top officials could vote as early as next week on a new lethal injection protocol and the role, if any, a doctor must play in executions.

A representative for Department of Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry tells WRAL she was called by Gov. Mike Easley's office Wednesday and told that a written protocol will be given to the Council of State members on Friday for their review.

Berry is a member of the council, along with the governor, the lieutenant governor and the elected heads of seven other state agencies.

The governor's office, however, tells WRAL that Easley has not spoken to any members of
the Council of State about the matter. Spokesman Seth Effron said the agenda for next week's regularly scheduled meeting has not been set.

Three executions have already been put on hold since Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens ruled last week that the 10-member Council of State must approve a recent change that keeps doctors from actively participating in the execution process.

Berry, who supports capital punishment and one of three Republicans on the council, believes the council's action would merely address what she terms a "technicality."