We have seen botched executions across the country, and discovered innocent men on death row right here at home. Yet, N.C. lawmakers want to hurry up and resume executions.
Apparently, they are prepared to do anything to get their way, including making the suppliers of the drugs used in executions a state secret.
The bill that heads to Gov. McCrory’s desk this week does three disturbing things:
It narrows the state’s public records laws, allowing the state not to disclose where it buys its execution drugs. This means that, if executions resume, we won’t know if North Carolina is using the unregulated compounding pharmacies that many other states now rely on — resulting in the gruesome executions we’ve seen in several states.
It allows executions to proceed without doctors present, a move that further increases the risk of botched executions.
It exempts the execution protocol from a public rulemaking process designed to ensure transparency and accountability.
None of these changes are likely to achieve the goal of restarting executions. Instead, they ensure more lawsuits and delays.
However, they reveal that our state legislators have a troubling lack of interest in justice and accountability to the public. Our lawmakers have mounted this effort to resume executions while failing to enact a single reform in response to the exoneration of N.C.’s longest-serving death row inmate, Henry McCollum, who was wrongly imprisoned for 30 years.
Gov. McCrory should not only refuse to sign this bill. He should call an official moratorium on executions until we figure out how many more innocent people still sit on death row.
Across North Carolina, newspapers agree with us. Read this week’s editorials: