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EDITORIALS: North Carolina Newspapers Critique Execution Secrecy Law

Posted on Aug 14, 2015

EDITORIALS: North Carolina Newspapers Critique Execution Secrecy Law

On August 6, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a law that removed the requirement that a physician be present at executions and shrouded in secrecy many elements of the lethal injection process, including the specific drugs to be used and the suppliers of those drugs. By eliminating the physician-participation requirement, the law attempted to remove a legal hurdle that has halted executions in North Carolina since 2006. Two major state newspapers sharply criticized the new law, calling it, “macabre” and “an ugly spectacle.” The Fayetteville Observer said, “We need thoughtful discussion of the issue and whether we’re imposing a fair sentence or simply seeking revenge for a terrible crime. What we don’t need is a General Assembly slicing away at reasonable public understanding of the state’s execution protocols, instead choosing to wrap it all in secrecy.” The News & Observer (Raleigh) called the law “a horribly misguided idea,” citing the “gruesome outcomes” of experimental lethal injection protocols in other states. The editorial concluded, “Rather than put executions on a fast track, North Carolina should abandon them altogether.”

(Editorial, “Cloaking NC death penalty won’t make it fair or error-free,” News & Observer, July 28, 2015; Editorial, “Our View: Don’t add secrecy to the lethal-injection formula,” Fayetteville Observer, July 29, 2015; C. Jarvis, “McCrory signs executions, gun bills,” News & Observer, August 6, 2015). See Editorials and Lethal Injection.