Supreme Court Decision May Affect N.C. Executions
(01/26/06 -- CHAPEL HILL) (WTVD) -- A convicted cop killer in Florida, who was seconds away from a lethal injection, got a second chance when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the execution.
Clarence Hill was strapped to a gurney with IVs already in his arms when he won a last-minute stay of execution on the grounds that lethal injections can cause excruciating pain.
Chapel Hill defense attorney Thomas Maher says the Florida stay could impact executions around the nation - - and in North Carolina.
"My best guess is other cases are going to be stayed," he said. "It would be gross injustice to execute people while the method of execution is being decided."
This is not the first debate over lethal injections. In 2004, lawyers for two death row inmates in North Carolina sought stays, claiming cruel and unusual punishment. The high court never made a decision that would stop lethal injections, but did leave the door open for new challenges.
The Supreme Court is not expected to make a decision in the Florida case until July. North Carolina's next execution is scheduled for mid-March. A Davidson County man who murdered his lover's husband for insurance money is set to die by lethal injection, using similar drugs to those now in question.
It is unclear if lawyers for the man will file for a stay of execution based on the Florida case. Either way, experts believe the Supreme Court's ruling could have a groundbreaking effect on the future of lethal injection.
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