A Fulton County judge has upheld a stay of execution for Warren Hill, expressing concern that a new state law, which allows the Department of Corrections to keep secret the identities of those who make and distribute the lethal injection drugs used to carry out an execution, is unconstitutional. The state's attorneys plan to immediately appeal the ruling to the State Supreme Court. If the court overturn's Judge Tusan's injunction, it remains possible that Hill could still be executed on Friday, July 19th at 7pm ET.
Statement from Attorney for Warren Hill Regarding Judge Tusan's Ruling on Lethal Injection Secrecy Challenge
"We are deeply relieved that Judge Tusan has stayed tomorrow's scheduled execution of Warren Hill, a man with mental retardation. Judge Tusan rightly found that Georgia's new lethal injection secrecy law goes too far in its extreme secrecy. As Judge Tusan noted, the Act makes it impossible to know whether the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment would be violated in a lethal injection execution, given the secrecy surrounding the protocol.
"Warren Hill's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus is still pending with the United States Supreme Court, which is, procedurally, the only court which can now consider the fact of his mental retardation. The Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that persons with mental retardation are categorically exempt from capital punishment, so it is important for the Court to hear the new evidence in Mr. Hill's case, that all doctors who have examined him, including three who previously testified for the state, now unanimously agree that Mr, Hill is a person with mental retardation.
“We are hopeful that after reviewing Mr. Hill’s petition, the Court will remand his case to federal district court for a hearing on the compelling evidence demonstrating that Mr. Hill is mentally retarded and therefore ineligible for the death penalty.”
-- Brian Kammer, attorney for Warren Hill | July 18, 2013