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ACLU Seeks to Enforce Public’s First Amendment Right to View Executions


— July 26, 2007

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and several journalists filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday, asking state prison officials to let witnesses see the entire execution process, not just when poison flows into condemned inmates.

Now, media and public witnesses cannot watch as intravenous tubes are inserted and removed from the inmates. The curtains to the execution chamber open to witnesses after the condemned prisoner is already strapped to the gurney, and close once the inmate is dead.

“Witnesses should be allowed to see the entire process, including strapping the condemned down and the insertion of needles,” said the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Pine Bluff. “The public has a First Amendment right to view executions from the moment the condemned is escorted into the execution chamber, including those initial procedures that are inextricably intertwined with the process of putting the condemned inmate to death.”

Details from the AP via the San Francisco Chronicle.
[Guest posted by Jeffrey Lewis]


The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and several journalists filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday, asking state prison officials to let witnesses see the entire execution process, not just when poison flows into condemned inmates.

Now, media and public witnesses cannot watch as intravenous tubes are inserted and removed from the inmates. The curtains to the execution chamber open to witnesses after the condemned prisoner is already strapped to the gurney, and close once the inmate is dead.

“Witnesses should be allowed to see the entire process, including strapping the condemned down and the insertion of needles,” said the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Pine Bluff. “The public has a First Amendment right to view executions from the moment the condemned is escorted into the execution chamber, including those initial procedures that are inextricably intertwined with the process of putting the condemned inmate to death.”

Details from the AP via the San Francisco Chronicle.
[Guest posted by Jeffrey Lewis]

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