Local News

Board to Appeal Ruling Over Docs' Role in Executions

Posted October 18, 2007 9:00 a.m. EDT
Updated October 18, 2007 10:12 a.m. EDT

Death Row, Death Penalty, Execution

The N.C. Medical Board will appeal a ruling that says it cannot discipline doctors for participating in prison executions.

Thom Mansfield, an attorney with the board, said Thursday that the board decided to file an appeal after holding a closed-door meeting to discuss the case.

A statement from the N.C. Medical Board said "after thoughtful deliberation, the Board determined that the principle that physicians should not take an active role in judicial executions is a principle that should not be abandoned."

Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens ruled on Sept. 19 that executions don't fall under the scope of activity the medical board can govern because they are not considered medical procedures.

Stephens also said the General Assembly is responsible for establishing rules regarding physician activities, and medical board policies can't trump state law.

"Although the current effort by the medical board to prohibit physician participation in executions may well be viewed as humane and noble, such a decision rests entirely with representatives elected by the citizens of this state," Stephens wrote in his ruling. "As of this date, the legislature has taken no such action."

Because of the medical board conflict and other legal issues, the Department of Correction has put several executions on hold.