April 17, 2007
New student note on "Executioner Identities"
Professor Debby Denno was kind enough to send me an advance (and postable) copy of a new student note soon to appear in the Fordham Law Review entitled "Executioner Identities: Toward Recognizing A Right To Know Who Is Hiding Beneath The Hood." Here are selections from the introduction:
The doctor had more than twenty malpractice suits filed against him. Two hospitals had revoked his privileges. He testified that he had dyslexia and sometimes confused drug dosages. This same doctor also supervised the lethal injections of fifty-four inmates in Missouri over a decade....
Part I of this Note briefly looks to the history of the executioner in the United States and then examines the basis for a First Amendment right of access and when that right can be limited. Part II highlights how this right applies in the context of the lethal injection executioner. Part II first focuses on the justification for concealing the executioner's identity before exploring why the public and the inmate have a right to know the identity. Part III argues that the right of the inmate and public to know the identity outweighs the state and prison's speculative concerns on which the grounds for concealment are based. Part III initially advocates that an executioner's name and qualifications should be revealed but then argues, in the alternative, that if states provide substantiated justification for concealing an executioner's identity, then the identity can be concealed, but specific qualifications of the executioner should be revealed.
UPDATE: On a related theme, ODPI discusses here the news that the paper Nashville Scene has now sued the state of Tennessee for secret execution protocol documents.
April 17, 2007 at 05:52 PM | Permalink
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The tendency for screw ups to get appointed to death penalty defense cases (a large percentage of those lawyers ultimately get disbarred), apparently extends beyond the legal profession to executioners as well.
Posted by: ohwilleke | Apr 18, 2007 3:36:16 PM