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Case Name Zitrin v. Georgia Composite Board of State Medical Examiners CJ-GA-0002
Docket / Court 2005cv103905 ( State Court )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
Dr. Arthur Zitrin, a New York University psychiatry professor and death penalty abolitionist, filed a formal complaint with the Georgia State Board of Medical Examiners against Dr. Hothur Sanjeeva Rao over Rao's involvement in an execution. In December 2004, the Georgia board dismissed the ... read more >
Dr. Arthur Zitrin, a New York University psychiatry professor and death penalty abolitionist, filed a formal complaint with the Georgia State Board of Medical Examiners against Dr. Hothur Sanjeeva Rao over Rao's involvement in an execution. In December 2004, the Georgia board dismissed the complaint and denied Zitrin's appeal. Zitrin argued that "[a]ll existing standards internationally and nationally held by professional health societies bars doctors from participating."

On July 22, 2005, Zitrin filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Composite Board of State Medical Examiners in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia, seeking to compel the Georgia medical board to punish doctors participating in the execution of prisoners. The plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief and asked the court to hold that the relevant American Medical Association guidelines and Georgia statutes bar such participation. On July 31, 2006, the trial court (Judge Stephanie B. Manis) granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

The plaintiff appealed on January 8, 2007 to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed on October 18, 2007. That court found that the plaintiff lacked standing to get declaratory relief or to bring a claim under the APA because under state law, "a plaintiff must demonstrate facts or circumstances whereby he is in a position of uncertainty or insecurity because of a dispute and having to take some future action which is properly incident to [his] alleged right, and which future action without direction from the court might reasonably jeopardize his interest." The court found nothing on the record showed that the plaintiff had such uncertainty, had participated in executions, or had been threatened with discipline for such participation. To have standing under the APA, the court found that a plaintiff must "demonstrate special damage suffered as a result of the decision appealed from, rather than some damage common to all those similarly situated." The court held that the plaintiff failed to show injuries specially suffered by him rather than common to all similarly situated. 288 Ga.App. 295.

The plaintiff then appealed to the state Supreme Court, which denied cert on March 10, 2008.

We have limited information regarding this case. The case appears to be closed.

Kristen Sagar - 08/28/2007
Virginia Weeks - 01/28/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Death Penalty
Lethal Injection - General
Lethal Injection - Staffing (including physician)
General
Excessive force
International law
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Georgia Composite Board of State Medical Examiners
Plaintiff Description Doctors practicing in and out of Georgia seeking judgment that participation by a physician in an execution is barred
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Unknown
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 2005
Case Closing Year 2008
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Final Order
CJ-GA-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/28/2006
Brief on Behalf of Appellees-State Board
CJ-GA-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/12/2006
Brief of Appellant-Physicians
CJ-GA-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/01/2007
Order (653 S.E.2d 758)
CJ-GA-0002-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/18/2007
Source: State Court Website
Judges Manis , Stephanie B. (State Trial Court)
CJ-GA-0002-0001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Manheimer , Hollie (Georgia)
CJ-GA-0002-0002
Weber, Gerald R. (Georgia)
CJ-GA-0002-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Monroe , Wylencia Hood (Georgia)
CJ-GA-0002-0003

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