The Arizona Republic reports, "Republic sues state to reveal info on lethal injections," by Michael Kiefer.
The Arizona Republic and several other local and international media outlets have filed suit in federal court against the director of the Arizona Department of Corrections and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne asking that the department reveal the procedures and the sources of drugs it uses to carry out executions by lethal injection.
The lawsuit alleges that executions have always been public events and that withholding the information violates the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The suit comes in the wake of a July 23 execution in Arizona in which Joseph Wood was injected with 15 supposedly lethal doses of a controversial drug cocktail that took almost two hours to kill him.
"Arizona challenged to abandon secrecy on death penalty drugs," is by Ed Pilkington for the Guardian.
The secrecy imposed by Arizona on the source and quality of the lethal injection drugs it uses to kill death row inmates has been challenged in a new lawsuit brought by the Guardian and other media organizations.
In the lawsuit, filed with a federal court in Phoenix, the Guardian together with the Associated Press and four of Arizona’s largest news outlets argue that the state’s refusal to disclose any information about its lethal injection drugs is a breach of the public’s first amendment right to know about how the death penalty is being carried out in its name. It follows a groundbreaking first amendment case brought by the Guardian and others in Missouri in May.
In tune with many other death penalty states, Arizona has gone to great lengths to hide the provenance and nature of the medical drugs it uses to execute prisoners. Supplies of the medicines have run low in the wake of a worldwide boycott of US executions, and as a result the department of corrections has had to resort to increasingly imaginative sources which it has shrouded in secrecy in an effort to keep supply lines open.
"Media outlets jointly sue Arizona for information on lethal injection practices," is AP coverage, via the Greenfield Daily Reporter.
The standard drug used in executions in Arizona since the 1970s became unavailable in 2010. The Republic reported that the Arizona Department of Corrections used a law guaranteeing confidentiality of executioners' identities to conceal it was illegally getting the drug from Great Britain. As a result, the U.S. Justice Department prohibited the use of imported drugs for executions in the U.S. Since then, Arizona has switched to a two-drug combination already used in Ohio.
The execution brought new attention to the death penalty debate in the U.S. as opponents said it was proof that lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.