North Carolina leaders to take up issue of executions by lethal injection
Published: January 31, 2007
RALEIGH, North Carolina: Forced into a debate over the death penalty, top state officials next week will consider the role a doctor plays in executions.
Three executions have been put on hold after a judge ruled last week that state leaders must approve a recent decision that keeps doctors from actively participating in the execution process.
The Council of State, a collection of the state's top leaders, including the governor, will consider the issue at its regular meeting Tuesday, Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said Wednesday.
A spokesman for Governor Mike Easley could not confirm that.
North Carolina is the latest U.S. state to examine the death penalty. Questions about whether lethal injection is inhumane have put executions on hold in nine states — Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio and South Dakota. Illinois is in the seventh year of its moratorium on executions, and executions are effectively halted in New York because of a 2004 court ruling.
The current issue arose after the North Carolina Medical Board recently declared that any participation by a physician in an execution violated medical ethics.
State law, however, requires a doctor's presence at executions.