RALEIGH, N.C. -- A North Carolina appeals court is deciding whether appointed state officials can alone decide how convicted killers are executed or whether others must review the procedure.
The state Court of Appeals heard arguments Tuesday about whether the head of the public safety department can determine the lethal drugs used, what questions news reporters can ask in interviews, who can witness an execution and other details. Attorneys for four murderers say execution rules proposed in October are so sweeping that they can't be exempt from a state law requiring a commission to review agency rules.
An Ohio execution last week using an untested drug combination left the condemned killer gasping and snorting for nearly a half hour before he died.
North Carolina hasn't executed anyone since 2006.