Felony is classified as the most serious of all crimes, and the gravest among felonies in several states may result in capital punishment upon evaluation of the jury. North Carolina is among the 32 states that still enforce capital punishment. Between 1972-1976 the U.S. Supreme Court suspended capital punishment. This decision arose from the questionable nature of serving them in relation to the Eight Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Since capital punishment resumed in 1976, North Carolina has executed 43 people convicted with felony. However, 161 inmates on death row remain and await their fate. The last execution by lethal injection in North Carolina was on August 2006. A year later, the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB) barred doctors from doing anything more than be present at an execution.
The NCMB move prevented any more executions from being delivered, because according to the laws of the state, a doctor must also monitor the inmate’s essential bodily functions. NCMB’s influence gave the North Carolina Department of Corrections (NCDC) difficulty with doctors who will assist in the administration of lethal injections. However, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled in favor of the NCDC when it sued NCMB because the NCMB does not have the authority to punish doctors for abiding by the state’s execution procedures.