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Judge Throws Out Idaho Death Row Inmate Lawsuit, Lawyers Appeal

The lethal injection chamber of the South Dakota State Penitentiary.

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit aimed at postponing Idaho’s planned execution of a convicted murderer. Defense attorneys are refiling their complaint.

Attorneys for Gerald Ross Pizzuto Junior had challenged the state’s refusal to reveal what drugs it uses in its lethal injections. Reading from a prepared statement, Pizzuto's attorney Jonah Horwitz criticized the judge’s decision.

“If the Idaho Department of Correction wants the public to trust it in life and death matters, it should have no problem being transparent,” he said.

Shortly after the ruling, the defense filed an amended complaint.

Pizzuto was convicted in the 1985 murders of Berta and Del Herndon in rural Idaho County. He forced both into their mountain cabin at gunpoint and stole money after killing them.

Pizzuto, who has terminal cancer, is scheduled to be executed June 2. It would be the first execution in Idaho in nine years.

Idaho’s execution program came in for harsh scrutiny after a lawsuit from Pizzuto and another inmate accused Department of Correction Director Josh Tewalt of buying lethal injection drugs with a suitcase full of cash in a Walmart parking lot.

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