by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled unanimously this morning that a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s death penalty procedures must head back to a trial court. While four death row inmates were appealing a lower-court ruling upholding the state’s three-drug protocol for administering lethal injections during capital punishment, the state replaced the three-drug protocol with a single drug, Pentobarbital. Now the inmates contend that the decision to adopt a new “execution procedure manual” calling for the single drug should have gone through the state’s rule-making process. Appellate judges agreed a trial court should address that issue.
Among the latest batch of opinions released this morning from the N.C. Court of Appeals: