A judge granted death row inmate Warren Lee Hill a temporary stay of execution, and attorneys for the state said they plan to appeal the injunction to the Georgia Supreme Court.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Gail Tusan issued the injunction Thursday. Hill's attorneys argued the constitutionality of a law prohibiting the release of information about where Georgia gets its supply of lethal injection drugs in court.
"It could have come from China," Hill's attorney, Brian Kammer, said to Judge Tusan. "In fact, given history in this case, it probably did come from China. And it could be manufactured in a facility where they make pesticides."
There is a nationwide shortage of pentobarbital. Attorneys with the Office of the Attorney General conceded in the hearing that the lethal injection drug was purchased from an out-of-state compounding pharmacy and is not
FDA-approved. Hill's attorney filed a public records
"I would bet my life that this drug, as described in that
Dr. Jacqueline Martin, a GBI deputy chief
medical examiner, refuted that any potential contamination would affect the potency of the drug.
"There is so much going in that, it won't make a difference," Martin said.
contended that the drug would deprive Hill of his 8th Amendment right, which prohibits "cruel and unusual" punishment.
The state's attorneys have argued the law is designed to discourage retaliation against those who participate in executions and is constitutional.
Tusan extended the stay so more hearings and briefings could be held, but didn't rule on whether the law prohibiting the release of lethal injection ingredients is unconstitutional.
Hill's attorneys also appealed to the United States Supreme Court, arguing he shouldn't be executed because he's mentally disabled.