The state Attorney General’s Office will not be filing an appeal today to try and overturn a stay of execution granted Thursday to condemned killer Warren Hill, an office spokeswoman said.
As a result, Hill will not be executed at 7 p.m. tonight, a date set earlier this week by the Department of Corrections.
The AG’s office needed a transcript of this week’s hearings before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Gail Tusan before filing its appeal, but 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 early this week 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 on Saturday at noon. 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 the execution.
The state may also need to get a new supply of pentobarbital to carry out Hill’s execution if it cannot set another execution date in the coming weeks. Its current supply, which the Department of Corrections got from a compounding pharmacy, expires on Aug. 8, according to court records.
Tusan halted Hill’s execution, saying the new state secrecy law, which took effect July 1, is likely unconstitutional because it denies death row inmates meaningful access to the courts, violates the separation of powers and is so sweeping it “forecloses” the public’s right to know how the state carries out executions.
Hill’s lawyers had contended that because of the new state secrecy law, it was impossible for Hill to determine whether the lethal-injection drug that was to be used to kill him was somehow contaminated or improperly compounded.
“To be executed without being aware of basic information regarding the protocols the state will use to carry out such an execution is surely an irreparable harm,” Tusan wrote in her order issued Thursday.
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