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Supreme Court to hear arguments on NC executions

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- The North Carolina Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in a case that could change how the death penalty is administered.

Lawyers for five death row inmates are preparing to argue Monday that an administrative law judge was right to order state officials to revamp North Carolina's protocol for executions in 2007.

The Council of State has to approve changes to death penalty procedures and argues the judge doesn't have the jurisdiction to make that order. A Superior Court judge sided with the council.

The inmates' lawyers say the council signed off on changes to capital punishment protocol without hearing from advocates for condemned prisoners.

If the Supreme Court agrees, the case will go back to a lower court for review.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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