Saturday, 27 January 2007

Judge delays 3rd execution in 2 days

Judge delays 3rd execution in 2 days

Associated Press

A judge on Friday delayed a third execution in North Carolina, again saying that the state first needed to decide the role that doctors play in carrying out death sentences.

Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens signed a preliminary injunction Friday afternoon delaying the Feb. 9 execution of James Adolph Campbell, 45, who was convicted of killing a woman in 1993.

On Thursday, the judge had delayed the executions of Marcus Reymond Robinson, 33, who was scheduled to die at 2 a.m. Friday, and James Edward Thomas, 51, who was set to die next week.

The judge's ruling Thursday further complicated the debate over whether the state can carry out executions without the assistance of an attending physician.

State law requires a doctor's presence at executions, but last week the North Carolina Medical Board decided that any participation by a physician violated medical ethics.

The state decided a nurse and medical technician would monitor condemned inmates' vital signs as they die by lethal injection. If a problem arose requiring the doctor to intervene, officials would stop the execution, allowing the physician to take part without violating the medical board's ethics policy.

Citing a law passed in 1909, Stephens said such a change in the state's process for imposing a death sentence requires approval of the governor and other statewide elected officials.

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