Georgia lawmakers saw secrecy as the only way to ensure it could get drugs for executions from businesses that otherwise would face public pressure and pickets.
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Condemned killer Warren Hill escaped execution once again Friday night because the state attorney general’s office was unable to appeal a stay of execution granted by a Fulton County judge.
Hill’s execution had been set for 7 p.m. Friday earlier this week by the Department of Corrections.
The attorney general’s office needed a transcript of this week’s hearings before Superior Court Judge Gail Tusan to file its appeal, and the transcript will not be ready until Monday, office spokeswoman Lauren Kane said.
Hill’s lawyer Brian Kammer, who also is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out Hill’s death sentence on claims Hill is mentally retarded, said he was glad his client was given another reprieve.
“We are deeply relieved that Warren Hill will not be executed tonight in order for the courts to more thoughtfully deliberate Mr. Hill’s mental retardation claim and the extreme secrecy surrounding Georgia’s lethal injection law,” Kammer said.
Tusan had initially granted Hill a stay of execution on Monday and extended it at the close of a hearing on Thursday. She said a new law that keeps secret the identities of those who make and supply Georgia’s lethal injection drugs may be unconstitutional.
The warrant ordering Hill’s execution expires at noon today. For this reason, state attorneys will have to go back to a state court judge to get a new warrant, which gives the state a one-week window to carry out an execution.
— Bill Rankin