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Fulton County judge stays execution

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ATLANTA — A Fulton County judge stopped Monday’s scheduled execution of Warren Lee Hill to consider a legal challenge to a state law prohibiting the release of information on Georgia’s supply of lethal injection drugs.

Superior Court Judge Gail S. Tusan issued a temporary stay until a hearing could be held Thursday morning, said Hill’s attorney Brian Kammer. The execution could be rescheduled for as soon as Thursday evening if the judge decides to lift the stay.

“Today, the court found that more time is needed to explore Mr. Hill’s complaint, which raises serious concerns about the extreme secrecy surrounding the execution process in Georgia,” Kammer said in a statement. “There is far too much we do not know about how the state intends to proceed in this, the most extreme act a government can take against a citizen.”

The lawsuit filed Friday focuses on a state law that recently took effect that prohibits the release of identifying information about any person or company participating in an execution. Supporters of the law have said it’s necessary to protect participants from retaliation and could help the state obtain drugs from companies or pharmacies that might not want people to know they are involved in executions.

Nationally, it has become increasingly difficult for states to obtain a lethal injection drug because the manufacturer has said it doesn’t want it used in executions.

Last July, Hill’s execution was put on hold as his attorneys challenged a plan by the state to change from a three-drug process to a single lethal dose of pentobarbital. The state previously used pentobarbital to sedate inmates before injecting pancuronium bromide to paralyze them and then potassium chloride to stop their hearts. The Georgia Supreme Court later sided with the state and cleared the way for the execution.

But then the state’s supply of the drug expired in March. The Department of Corrections used a compounding pharmacy to obtain pentobarbital for Hill’s scheduled execution Monday. The name of the pharmacy was not released, nor was the name of the physician who wrote the prescription for the drug.

Compounding pharmacies custom-mix small batches of a drug for specific clients. They’ve come under scrutiny after a deadly meningitis outbreak was linked to contaminated injections from a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy. The FDA considers compounding pharmacy products unapproved drugs and does not verify their safety or effectiveness.

In the lawsuit, Hill’s attorneys argued that they have been unable to determine whether the drugs were obtained from a legitimate source and are not “counterfeit, expired or tainted in some way likely to cause him grave harm or suffering during his execution.”

The state attorney general’s office argued that the state law is constitutional and provided an affidavit from an independent lab verifying that the drug had been analyzed and was safe to use.

Hill, 53, was sentenced to death in the 1990 killing of inmate Joseph Handspike. At the time, Hill was serving a life sentence for the 1986 killing of his girlfriend, Myra Wright.

Hill’s planned execution has prompted criticism from disability advocates who have joined forces with the NAACP and Amnesty International to protest. Hill’s attorneys have long argued he is mentally disabled and point to three doctors who originally examined Hill for the state who now say they believe he is mentally disabled.

Attorneys for the state have argued Hill has failed to prove he’s mentally disabled and that his case has been thoroughly reviewed by several courts. The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to consider the case Sept. 30, but Hill’s attorneys have been appealing for them to intervene sooner.

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my.voice
4824
Points
my.voice 07/15/13 - 04:40 pm
6
3
Interesting Rev Sharpton & Co

Interesting Rev Sharpton & Co aren't protesting this murderers punishment.

dichotomy
33045
Points
dichotomy 07/15/13 - 04:42 pm
8
3
Based on what I've seen of

Based on what I've seen of our judges lately, I'd rather they let the crook go and execute the judge. They are doing more damage to our society than the criminals. The LAW was supposed to be based on SOME AMOUNT of COMMON SENSE but our judges seem to relish every new teeny, remotely possible, technicality like a kid with a new toy.

Hill killed a man....was given a fair trial.....has had more appeals than Carter has pills......and it's time for him to die. Execute him now and get him off of the chow hall list. I'm tired of feeding his carcass.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 07/15/13 - 05:34 pm
0
0
I think
Unpublished

murder should become legal since lowyers find capital punishment so heinous and murder just a chance a person takes. Unless, of course, the murder victim is a member of the lowyers family.

Shortcomment
1163
Points
Shortcomment 07/15/13 - 07:10 pm
5
2
I'll donate ammo

if they come up short on drugs.

Or maybe they could pump him up with Hard Drugs from drug busts.
A new environment recycling effort. ;-)

Dixieman
15006
Points
Dixieman 07/15/13 - 07:43 pm
6
1
More last-minute filings for delay, delay, delay

This challenge could - and should - have been filed months or years ago, not at the last minute. Just delaying justice.

oldredneckman96
5095
Points
oldredneckman96 07/15/13 - 08:02 pm
5
2
Killing
Unpublished

We could just perform an abortion on Hill. You know drag him halfway out of his cell, stick a pair of scissors in his brain and then throw him in the trash. Judges don’t seem to mind that at, all do you?

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 07/16/13 - 06:11 am
4
1
dichotomy

Actually, this scumbag has murdered TWO people, but sentenced to death for only the one!

This guy has killed two human beings; and some people still have the nerve to say "We don't need to kill this poor man." Well, my suggestion is to give him counselling, release him and move him in beside the people advocating against his execution!! Maybe he and his new neighbors can play horseshoes in the yard!!

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 07/16/13 - 06:39 am
0
1
I wonder if these posters
Unpublished

I wonder if these posters speak like this at church on Sundays

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 07/16/13 - 06:45 am
0
1
I wonder if these posters
Unpublished

I wonder if these posters speak like this at church on Sundays

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 07/16/13 - 03:02 pm
0
0
"it aint not fair fo ya'll to
Unpublished

"it aint not fair fo ya'll to be say dat....i be retarded and caint not ex-e-cute me fo sho cause i caint not count or no my letta's too good fo sho i anint not cause it aint fair y'all wite pee-peo is jess racist with da racism cause i be retard and i caint not count cause i be not gad-ee-ated and cause i be black is why i be in jail cause my gerl frien attak me why i kilt her cause she was bigg'a dan me fo sho cause i caint not cownt fo sho ...ahhhh doooo"

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