Warren Hill execution stayed, indefinitely

5:59 PM, Jul 18, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- Fulton County Superior Court Judge Gail Tusan extended her stay of execution for condemned murderer Warren Lee Hill on Thursday.

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Tusan temporarily halted Hill's execution only hours before it was scheduled last Monday night after his attorneys challenged Georgia's newly revised lethal injection law.

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Effective July 1st, it keeps the names of pharmaceutical companies, doctors and others involved in the process secret.

At a Thursday hearing, lawyers from the Georgia Attorney General's office argued the new law is to protect those involved in the execution process from being intimidated and harassed by death penalty opponents.

But Hill's lawyers called it unconstitutional because it keeps that information secret from even the judicial system.

They also argued the secrecy keeps anyone knowing the purity of the drugs and whether they cause cruel and unusual punishment.

The state's attorneys argued that even if the drugs were somehow contaminated, Hill would not suffer because he would lose consciousness so quickly.

Judge Tusan ruled that the new law's secrecy has yet to be tested and found legitimate.

She also said keeping the information secret "undermines his right to due process" under the Eighth Amendment.

Hill's next execution date had been rescheduled for Friday night.

The state says it will appeal the ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court, which could uphold or overturn her ruling as soon as Friday.

Hill's latest death warrant expires Saturday.

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