Monday, March 14, 2011, 12:01 AM

Today at the Supreme Court (3/14/11)

Today, Monday, March 14, 2001, the North Carolina Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the following cases:


Conner v. NC Council of State - Section 15-188 of the North Carolina General Statutes require the superintendent of Central Prison in Raleigh to "cause to be provided, in conformity with this Article and approved by the Governor and Council of State, the necessary appliances for the infliction of the punishment of death and qualified personnel to set up and prepare the injection, administer the preinjections, insert the IV catheter, and to perform other tasks required for this procedure in accordance with the requirements of this Article."

Pursuant to this provision in February 2007, the North Carolina Council of State approved an execution protocol ("Protocol") prepared and submitted by the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and the Warden of Central Prison.  Shortly thereafter, a group of death row inmates filed a petition for a contested case hearing in the Office of Administrative Hearings to challenge the Council's approval.

The Council filed a Motion to Dismiss, arguing that the OAH lacked jurisdiction to consider the Petition and that the death row inmates were not "persons aggrieved" under the Administrative Procedures Act.  The administrative law judge assigned to the case rejected the Council's motion to dismiss and recommended that the Council reconsider its approval of the Protocol.  The Council subsequently issued a Final Decision and Order that concluded that the OAH lacked jurisdiction over the Petition and rejected the ALJ's findings.

The inmates filed a Petition for Judicial Review in Wake County Superior Court seeking to overturn the Council's Final Decision and Order.  The Petition was dismissed by the Superior Court on the ground that the OAH lacked jurisdiction to review the Council's approval of the Protocol.

The inmates filed a notice of appeal to the Court of Appeals.  However, in May 2010, the Council filed a Petition for Discretionary Review Prior to a Determination by the Court of Appeals.  The Supreme Court allowed the petition in October 2010.

This case will address whether the Council - which is subject to the APA - is required to comply with the hearing provisions of the APA when approving rules promulgated by APA-exempt organizations such as the Department of Corrections; whether death row inmates qualify as persons aggrieved by the approval of the Protocol; and whether the inmates have suffered a cognizable injury as a result of the approval of the Protocol.

Record on Appeal (Part 1)
Record on Appeal (Part 2)
Record on Appeal (Part 3)
Record on Appeal (Part 4)
Appellant's Brief
Appellee's Brief

In the Matter of J.H.K and J.D.K. - This case will address whether a trial court can conduct a termination of parental rights proceeding when the child's guardian ad litem is not present.

Appellant's New Brief
Appellee's New Brief
Amicus Brief from N.C. Association of Social Services Attorneys - Not Available.
Court of Appeals Opinion
Record on Appeal - Not Available

State v. Chodhry - This case will address whether a criminal defense attorney has a conflict of interest that disqualifies him from representing the defendant when the attorney has represented the State's key witness in a previous criminal matter.

Appellant's New Brief
Appellee's New Brief
Court of Appeals' Opinion
Record on Appeal

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