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North Carolina attempt to resume executions fails

[JURIST] A Republican-sponsored amendment to a North Carolina bill [HB 818 materials] aimed at allowing capital punishment [JURIST news archive] to resume in the state failed Monday when state House Democrats struck down language that would have forbidden the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB) [official website] from disciplining a doctor for participating in an execution [NCMB position statement]. The amendment, proposed by Republican House Minority Leader Paul Stam [official website], was killed without any debate on the subject. Democratic House Speaker Joe Hackney [official website] said that it would make more sense to wait until the court reaches a decision on a pending case [JURIST report] regarding lethal injection and the roles of physicians in capital punishment before passing any new legislation.

Early this year, the NCMB changed its policy on capital punishment saying that "physician participation... is a departure from the ethics of the medical profession," threatening to revoke doctors' licenses if they assisted in the procedure. As North Carolina law requires the presence of licensed physicians, this halted capital punishment in the state [JURIST report]. A previous attempt [JURIST report] in February to shield doctors from the state medical board stalled in committee [SB 114 bill materials]. The Charlotte Observer has more.

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