[JURIST] A North Carolina judge ruled Thursday that the North Carolina Council of State, comprised of Gov. Mike Easley [official website] and nine elected state officials, improperly approved new execution protocols in February as a part of their effort to resume executions. Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison ordered the council to revisit the protocols. Morrison said that because the state panel approved the protocols without hearing from lawyers for death row inmates, due process was violated.
The ruling is the latest setback for North Carolina state officials' efforts to resume executions. In January, a state judge issued an injunction [JURIST report] blocking executions until Easley issued new protocols for capital punishment [JURIST news archive]. The protocols became necessary after the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB) [official website] altered their capital punishment policy [text] and threatened to sanction doctors who participate in the procedure. In June, a Republican-sponsored amendment to a bill [HB 818 materials] aimed at allowing executions to resume failed [JURIST report] after state Democrats struck down language that would have prohibited the NCMB from disciplining doctors for participating in executions. AP has more.