Judge Won't Grant Media Access For June's Execution
A U.S. District Judge says he won't change how journalists view the upcoming execution of a death row inmate next week. News media outlets including the Associated Press filed a lawsuit to allow witnesses to see the entire execution from start to finish. That's not currently allowed. State officials say they want to protect the identity of the people who prepare inmates for execution.
The Spokesman Review reports that Edward Lodge ruled today that news outlets have a strong case but the timing is too close to the June 12th execution of condemned murderer Richard Leavitt.
The judge will hold evidentiary hearings in the case, but whatever he decides will only apply to future prisoner executions. Lodge says there's not enough time before next week to hold hearings, rule in the case, leave time for an appeal, and then change procedures at the Idaho Department of Correction.
Idaho and 31 other states limit access to reporters during lethal injections.
Immediately after Lodge’s ruling, news media organizations filed a notice of appeal with the 9th Circuit U-S Court. The Court will hear arguments Thursday.