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North Carolina Officials Misled Federal Judge to Sign-Off on Execution

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August 22, 2007

Government deception joined prosecutorial misconduct, reliance on false confessions, and withholding evidence in the list of plagues that hamper North Carolina’s death penalty process. Today, Christopher Hill, state strategies coordinator for the Capital Punishment Project, wrote about North Carolina state officials who misled a federal judge into believing that a doctor would be present at the execution. Christopher writes in the News & Observer:

But in reality…the supposedly present doctor “stood almost as far away as possible from the observation room window through which he could have observed” the dying inmate. The physician admitted that he did not monitor Brown’s consciousness or observe other vital signs on a bispectral index monitor (BIS). Furthermore, the physician testified that he was not even trained to operate the device.

In other death penalty news, Texas is barreling towards its 400th execution, scheduled for this evening. Death row inmate Johnny Ray Conner made a last-minute appeal to the Supreme Court to review his case; he’s asking for a new trial because his previous defense team ignored a preexisting leg injury that causes a limp, which could preclude him from being the murderer who sprinted away from the crime scene 10 years ago.

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