University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Brown v. Beck CJ-NC-0004
Docket / Court 5:06-ct-03018-H ( E.D.N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
On February 27, 2006, Willie Brown, a death-sentenced inmate of the Central Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the North Carolina Department of Correction in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Brown alleged that his ... read more >
On February 27, 2006, Willie Brown, a death-sentenced inmate of the Central Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the North Carolina Department of Correction in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Brown alleged that his constitutional rights were threatened by the defendants' lethal injection protocol, which he claimed would leave him improperly anesthetized and therefore able to feel the excrutiatingly painful burning sensation caused by the potassium chloride that would be injected into his veins. He also claimed that the protocol's use of pancuronium bromide would leave him paralyzed, which would cause him to suffocate to death while conscious and leave him unable to alert the executioners that the anesthesia had been insufficient. For these reasons, he asked the court to enjoin the defendants from utilizing their current lethal injection protocol during his execution.

On April 7, 2006, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina (Judge Malcom J. Howard) denied the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction and ruled that the plaintiff's execution should proceed as scheduled on April 21, 2006, but the Court conditioned this on the defendants' compliance with the Court's order that medically trained personnel must be present at the execution in order to ensure that Brown would be in all respects unconscious prior to and at the time of the administration of any pancuronium bromide or potassium chloride. The court further ordered that if Brown were to exhibit any effects of consciousness at any time during the execution, the medical personnel were to immediately provide appropriate medical care so as to ensure that he was immediately returned to an unconscious state. Brown v. Beck, No. 06-3018, 2006 WL 3914717 (E.D.N.C. Apr. 7, 2006)

The plaintiff appealed this ruling, and on April 20, 2006, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (Judges Michael J. Luttig and William Byrd Traxler, Jr.) affirmed the District Court's order without opinion and denied the plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction. Brown v. Beck, 445 F.3d 752 (4th Cir. 2006).

Willie Brown was executed on April 21, 2006 by lethal injection. On May 16, 2006, the District Court (Judge Howard) dismissed the lawsuit as moot.

Kristen Sagar - 09/10/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Death Penalty
Lethal Injection - General
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) North Carolina Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description a death-sentenced inmate of the Central Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2006 - 2006
Case Closing Year 2006
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Links Philadelphia Forfeiture
http://ij.org/case/philadelphia-forfeiture/
By: Institute for Justice (Institute for Justice)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
(E.D.N.C.) 05/17/2006
CJ-NC-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 02/27/2006
CJ-NC-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Motion for Preliminary Injunction 02/28/2006
CJ-NC-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss 03/13/2006
CJ-NC-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Reply in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction 04/03/2006
CJ-NC-0004-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 04/07/2006 (2006 WL 3914717 / 2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 60084) (E.D.N.C.)
CJ-NC-0004-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Objection to Defendants' Notice and Response to 7 April 2006 Order 04/14/2006
CJ-NC-0004-0006.pdf | Detail
Brief of Appellant 04/18/2006
CJ-NC-0004-0008.pdf | Detail
Brief of the Appellees Opposing Appellant's Motion for Preliminary Injunction 04/18/2006
CJ-NC-0004-0009.pdf | Detail
Order [Affirming Denial of Injunction] 04/20/2006 (445 F.3d 752)
CJ-NC-0004-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Order [Dismissing the Action] 05/16/2006 (E.D.N.C.)
CJ-NC-0004-0010.pdf | Detail
Judges Howard, Malcolm Jones (FISC, E.D.N.C.)
CJ-NC-0004-0005 | CJ-NC-0004-0010 | CJ-NC-0004-9000
Luttig, J. Michael (Fourth Circuit)
CJ-NC-0004-0007
Traxler, William Byrd Jr. (Fourth Circuit, D.S.C.)
CJ-NC-0004-0007
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cowan, J. Donald Jr. (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0004-0001 | CJ-NC-0004-0002 | CJ-NC-0004-0003 | CJ-NC-0004-0004 | CJ-NC-0004-0006 | CJ-NC-0004-0008 | CJ-NC-0004-9000
Loyek, Laura Murray (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0004-0001 | CJ-NC-0004-0002 | CJ-NC-0004-0003 | CJ-NC-0004-0004 | CJ-NC-0004-0006 | CJ-NC-0004-0008 | CJ-NC-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Pitman, Thomas (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0004-0009 | CJ-NC-0004-9000
Smith, James Peeler (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0004-0009 | CJ-NC-0004-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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