Grayson County, Georgia — A Georgia appeals court is hearing arguments this week on a motion to overturn a death sentence imposed by a jury.
The court is expected to deliver a ruling on whether the death penalty in Georgia is constitutional or not in the coming days.
But the state has taken a hard line on executions, even as it has issued new rules for the state’s execution program that have angered many.
Nathan Deal and Attorney General John Adams have been among those who have challenged those new guidelines, arguing that the state does not have enough prisoners for the lethal injection drug pentobarbital to be administered.
Georgia’s Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that the use of the drug was constitutional, but the state legislature approved new protocols that will put the state on track to execute its next prisoner in the next five months.
The new guidelines were signed into law last week by state lawmakers.
The state’s death row inmates are now awaiting the decision of the court on whether to rehear the case.
The appeals court on Monday will consider arguments from both sides in the case, and a ruling could come as soon as this week.
Georgia is currently the only state in the country where it can execute its inmates with the drug pentadob.
It has already used the drug in more than 400 inmates, and it has executed two prisoners using pentobarbing.
But there are questions about whether the state can continue to use the drug, especially as other states have moved to end executions with the new lethal injection protocols.
In a recent op-ed, the Georgia Center for Investigative Reporting wrote that the current executions in Georgia would not be constitutional under the constitution, if only because the state was not following the proper procedures for administering the drug.
“It is not uncommon for states to have multiple executions for the same drug, but only one of the drugs can be administered and the execution has to take place at the same time,” the center wrote.
“This is why it is critical that Georgia’s death penalty moratorium be extended and that all executions in the state be halted until this is resolved.”