Updated: 3/27/2007 4:34 PM
By: Tim Boyum
RALEIGH -- Executions remain at a standstill in North Carolina and it appears that won't change any time soon.
Currently the future of the death penalty lies in the hands of a Wake County judge, but lawmakers continue to debate the issue as well.
Republicans feel it's time for lawmakers to step in and continue executions.
"That's what you have to do as a legislator," House Minority Leader Paul Stam said. "There's a time to be emotional and a time to act in accordance with facts and justice."
Bills filed by Republicans in both chambers would protect doctors from any medical board punishment.
Executions have been on hold since January. Five are currently stayed. The issue stems from a dispute involving a doctor's participation. The state medical board now forbids doctors from taking part in executions but a federal judge requires it.
All sides are now waiting for the judge who stopped executions to resolve the issue but others want lawmakers to get involved.
"At this point since we haven't heard back from the governor or any other individuals we wrote to, we're not sure exactly what they're going to do but at this point what we're pointing out is they've done nothing and we think it's time for the General Assembly to act on this issue," Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger said.
But other lawmakers are asking the governor to stop executions for two years or more.
"This is an issue that's much bigger than the lethal injection," Sen. Ellie Kinnaird (D-Orange) said. "It's on a different public policy level and one that's looked at very carefully."
So far the judge has not set a court date and with appeals it could be months before the issue is resolved.