"Georgia Supreme Court agrees to hear state's appeal in case of death row inmate Warren Hill," is the AP report, via the Republic.
The Georgia Supreme Court said Monday it has agreed to hear the state's appeal of a lower court's order that halted the execution of a death row inmate last month.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Gail Tusan issued a stay of execution July 18 for Warren Lee Hill to give the court time to review a challenge to a new state law that bars the release of information about where Georgia obtains its execution drug.
The law classifies certain information about executions, including the source of the drug, as a "confidential state secret." Hill's lawyers say it's unconstitutional. State attorneys have said the law is constitutional and necessary to discourage retaliation against those who take part in executions.
When Tusan halted the execution, she wrote, "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."
The high court has asked the two sides to address four questions:
— Is the case moot because the state's supply of pentobarbital has expired and it is unclear where the state would get more?
— Did the Fulton County Superior Court have the authority to halt Hill's execution?
— Could the issue of the law's constitutionality be avoided if Hill were given a sample of the drug for testing or if he were given other information not prohibited by the law?
— Did Tusan make a mistake when she stopped the execution based on Hill's challenge of the law's constitutionality?
If the parties request oral arguments, they are likely to take place in the coming months, court spokeswoman Jane Hansen said in a statement. Hill's stay of execution will remain in place.
Related posts are in the lethal injection index.