Supreme Court will hear whether Hill’s execution can be stopped

The Georgia Supreme Court announced Monday it will hear the state’s appeal of an order from a Fulton County judge that delayed the execution of death row inmate Warren Lee Hill.

That order was issued July 18 by Fulton County Superior Court Gail Tusan, who said she wanted to review the constitutionality of a state law enacted this year that allows Georgia to keep secret all information about the source and manufacture of the lethal drugs used to carry out death penalties.

Hill’s execution had been scheduled for July 19, but Tusan issued an injunction that said under the new law, “neither the Plaintiff, nor the general public, has sufficient information with which to measure the safety of the drug that would be used to execute Plaintiff, as there is insufficient information regarding how it was compounded.”

State attorneys appealed Tusan’s injunction. The Supreme Court said it will hear arguments “in the next several months” in which attorneys for Hill and the state will be asked to address these questions:

  • Is the case moot since the current supply of pentobarbital has expired and it is unclear how the state would obtain a new supply of execution drugs?
  • Did the Fulton County Superior Court have the authority to stay Hill’s execution?
  • Could the whole issue of the statute’s constitutionality be avoided if Hill were given a sample of the drug for testing or given other information the statute does not prohibit?
  • Did Judge Tusan err by issuing the stay based on Hill’s challenge of the statute’s constitutionality?

© 2013 by The Georgia Report


Tags: death penalty , Georgia Supreme Court , Judge Gail Tusan , lethal injection , state secrecy law , Warren Hill