"Media coalition joins lawsuit over botched Arizona execution," is by Michael Kiefer in the Arizona Republic.
In the wake of a botched execution, a coalition of Arizona TV, print and radio outlets has joined a lawsuit to compel the Arizona Department of Corrections to fully disclose information about how it executes death row prisoners and to allow the media to witness all stages of the execution.
Attorneys from the Federal Public Defender's office initially filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Phoenix on behalf of Joseph Wood and other death row inmates before Wood's July 23 execution. The execution was stayed in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but the stay was lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court and Wood was put to death.
The attorneys had requested information about the drugs to be used in that execution and about the qualifications of the medical team that would carry out the execution. The corrections department carried out the execution using a drug that had already resulted in prolonged deaths during executions in Oklahoma and Ohio.
Wood's execution was the most controversial of the three.
The Arizona Capitol Times reports, "Journalists’ group joins lawsuit in controversial execution case," by Gary Grado.
An out-of-state law firm is representing an Arizona First Amendment advocacy group that hopes to convince a federal judge that the state’s execution procedures are unconstitutional and the state should be required to provide information on the prolonged execution of an Arizona inmate.
Attorneys with Sidley Austin filed documents Sept. 18 in U.S. District Court in Phoenix to join a lawsuit that was filed prior to the July 23 execution of Joseph Wood.
The law firm, which works pro bono for death-row inmates in Alabama, is representing the Arizona First Amendment Coalition, a group that advocates on behalf of the media and the public for more transparency in government.
"Group joins legal fight for records in state execution," by Patrick McNamara for the Arizona Daily Star.
The Arizona First Amendment Coalition has joined the case seeking more information from the state Corrections Department about the nearly two-hour execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood in July.
“We believe that this process should be open to media observation and scrutiny from the beginning to the end,” coalition President Morgan Loew said.
Loew is also a reporter with Phoenix’s CBS affiliate.
Loew said his organization wants witnesses to see when a condemned inmate enters the death chamber and is strapped to the gurney.
Currently, execution witnesses watch on television monitors as IV lines are set on the prisoner who’s already strapped to the table. The observation window curtains are drawn once lines are set and the execution process begins.
“It’s still about transparency,” said Dale Baich, Wood’s attorney with the federal Public Defender’s Office.
Earlier coverage from Arizona begins at the link.