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    N.C. Supreme Court Hears Death Penalty Controversy


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    Post by Admin on Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:09 pm

    N.C. Supreme Court Hears Death Penalty Controversy

    By Kim Genardo, NBC17, 11 months, 2 weeks ago
    Updated: Jan. 2 11:16 am

    The legal maneuvering has caused a two-year halt to executions.

    State law requires a doctor be present during an execution, but the North Carolina Medical Board has threatened disciplinary action if a doctor participates in any way.

    Board Attorney Todd Brosius says the doctor should simply certify the inmate's death.

    "For thousands of years it's been a principle of medical ethics that doctors don't do harm and certainly executions would be inconsistent with medical ethics," said Brosius.

    The Department of Correction contends a doctor monitors an execution to prevent cruel and unusual punishment.

    Assistant Attorney General Joe Finarelli argued the doctor's role is to monitor the inmate's vital signs.

    On the issue of unethical conduct Finarelli interpreted the law to mean, "the medical board can not discipline medical professionals for doing something the legislature has ordered them to do."

    However, the law is vague and Justice Patricia Timmons Goodmon suggested the legislature, not the courts, resolve the stalemate. One hundred sixty-three inmates are on death row at Central Prison in Raleigh.

    Victim's advocate Wayne Uber listened to the court arguments and said, "the medical board has stalled the process for almost two years.

    "This has got nothing to do with justice or protection of the public. It's basically the medical board asserting itself," Uber said.

    In 1995 Uber says his twin brother Jeff was murdered for three credit cards and a checkbook.

    The convicted killer is behind bars in Florida, but Uber says the high court decision in North Carolina could have relevance in other states.

    An opinion is usually issued 90-days after court arguments.

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