Perspectives on the Medical Board Appeal

News Update 10.22.07

North Carolina

There have been a number of editorials and letters to the editor regarding the Medical Board’s decision to appeal a judge’s finding that they do not have the power to discipline doctors who participate in executions. See here and here. The LA Times has a good overview of the issue here.

The Chair of the American Medical Association’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs wrote to say that the AMA has long opposed physician participation in executions because, “Members of a profession dedicated to preserving life have no place in an activity that knowingly leads to the death of an individual.”


William J. Wiseman, Jr., the sponsor of this nation’s first lethal injection law, was killed in a plane crash last week at the age of 63. Wiseman was morally opposed to the death penalty, but crafted the lethal injection statute hoping to make executions more humane. Read Bill Wiseman’s thoughts on his place in the history of capital punishment here. (c/o CDW and StandDown)

Unsurprisingly, the death penalty worldwide is disproportionately imposed on the poor. In the West, a death sentence can turn on whether the defendant has funds to hire an attorney. In the Middle East and North Africa, one’s ultimate execution often depends on whether one’s family can pay to have the death sentence overturned. (c/o Amnesty)

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