Today's Tennessean reports, "Tennessee fights release of execution team identities," by Brian Haas.
State officials on Monday fought to block lawyers for 10 death row inmates from getting information about exactly who will kill their clients.
Appearing before the Tennessee Court of Appeals in Nashville, attorneys for the state argued that Davidson County Chancery Court Judge Claudia Bonnyman improperly ordered them to reveal the names of the lethal injection team that would execute prisoners. Bonnyman's ruling came in a lawsuit involving 10 death row inmates suing for more information about who would execute them and the drugs that would end their lives.
"We are here today because for the first time in the history of lethal injection in the state of Tennessee a court has ordered the state to disclose the identities of those people who are involved in the lethal injection process," said Special Assistant Attorney General Kyle Hixson. "This is an abuse of discretion."
At issue is a law passed in 2013 that made all details about lethal injection — from the execution team to how the state intends to get its lethal injection drugs — secret. The inmates sued, saying that without knowing details about how the drugs are being obtained and who is providing them, there's no way to ensure they'll work as intended and protect their right against "cruel and unusual punishment," which is outlawed by the U.S. Constitution.
"Appellate court considers whether lawyers can find out names of executioners," is AP coverage, via the Tribune.
Assistant federal public defender Stephen Kissinger, who represents some of the inmates, argued that there's no "executioner's privilege" that would stop the state from releasing the identities of the execution team in a court case because they would be sealed.
He said a ruling that would allow the state to keep such information secret would have far-reaching implications.
"This isn't a matter of simply hiding the identity of the executioner," he said. "This is a matter of hiding the identity of the manufacturer of the ax or the manufacturer of the robe."
Tennessee is one of several states where inmates have challenged the secrecy surrounding executions in court.
Earlier coverage from Tennessee begins at the link.