Judge denies petition to stop lethal injection practice in Virginia

Posted at 1:21 PM, Sep 19, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-19 13:24:25-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) -- Just before noon today, Circuit Court Judge Gregory Rupe denied a petition from two Northern Virginia lawyers that lethal injections were a practice of medicine.

In April the Alexandria lawyers, Meghan Shapiro and Christopher Leibig, filed the petition against the practice of lethal injections here in the Commonwealth.  Today the criminal lawyers went before Judge Rupe, where they said Virginia executioners were not authorized to carry out the procedure because they are unlicensed. 

Shapiro argued the executioners were illegally practicing medicine, pharmacy and anesthesiology without certification to back it up.

But the defense attorney called the plaintiff's petition a "disguise attack" to shut down the lethal process.  The defense team said the method of administering medicine was not the same as practicing medicine. 

CBS 6 News legal analyst Todd Stone said the issue was made even more complicated because of the hippocratic oath, which states doctors and nurses are obligated to help and treat patients. 

"Doctors and other healthcare professionals take the hippocratic oath and one of the very first things they agree to is that they will not do harm to another and they will not create an injustice." said Stone.  "So will they even be able to find a physician or a healthcare professional who can administer this without violating their hippocratic oath?"

It is unclear at this time if Shapiro and Leibig will file an appeal against the judge's ruling.

Stay with CBS 6 News and for continuing coverage of this story.