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Footnote from AJMLS Professor Used in Dissent of Justice Benham

Posted on: May 20th, 2014

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The Georgia Supreme Court recently issued its opinion in the Warren Lee Hill case. Hill was sentenced to death following the 1990 murder of a fellow inmate in the Lee County Correctional Institute, in which Hill beat the victim with a board embedded with nails.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Michael Mears was quoted in a footnote by Justice Robert Benham who dissented along with Justice Carol Hunstein. The footnote used from Professor Mears is based upon a Daily Report article in which Mears discussed the unconstitutionality of the State Secret Act which protects the identity of the executioners and the names of the drug manufacturer.

Their dissent cited a botched execution last month in Oklahoma, Benham saying Georgia’s approach to executions could lead to such “macabre results.” Benham wrote that the secrecy law has the effect of creating “star chamber-like proceedings.”

The footnote reads:
“See also Land, Greg, Oklahoma’s Botched Execution is a Wake-Up Call in Georgia, Says
Law Professor, Daily Report (May 1, 2014), quoting Professor Michael Mears as follows:
“The defense bar is …about protecting the Constitution. How do we know what [drugs] they’re using and not telling us about?”

The full article can be found online through the Daily Report.