|Thursday, January 25, 2007|
North Carolina judge blocks executions after doctors refuse to participate
Joshua Pantesco at 3:18 PM ET
Earlier this week, a group of Democrats in the North Carolina legislature called for the suspension of all executions [JURIST report], pointing to the recent statewide moratorium on executions [JURIST report] issued by Florida Governor Jeb Bush in that state. A letter to Gov. Easley [DOC text] said a moratorium is required "in response to the mounting evidence that the procedure used to execute prisoners in North Carolina has the potential to cause undue and excruciating pain."
Several other states have been confronted of late with death penalty issues. Earlier this month, a New Jersey State commission recommended [JURIST report] that New Jersey abolish the death penalty completely, replacing it with a life sentence without the possibility of parole. If the commission's report makes its way into law New Jersey will become the first US jurisdiction to ban capital punishment in over 35 years. In December, a federal judge in California effectively suspended capital punishment there [JURIST report] by ruling that that state's lethal injection procedure creates "an undue and unnecessary risk" of cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution. In its 2006 year-end report [PDF text; press release], the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) [advocacy website] noted that the number of death sentences issued in 2006 reached the lowest level in 30 years [JURIST report].