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Federal judge rules suit to force California to make all portions of executions public may proceed

Los Angeles Times

A federal judge on Friday rejected an attempt by the state of California to dismiss much of a lawsuit that seeks to make public all portions of executions.

Several news outlets, including The Times, have sued the state to allow public access to the mixing of the chemicals for lethal injections.

The suit also seeks to permit the media to observe attempts to administer medical aid to inmates when executions are botched.

U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg, who is hearing the case, ruled that the lawsuit may go forward.

The news organizations’ claims “are sufficient to raise the constitutional claims above the speculative level,” Seeborg said.

Keker, Van Nest & Peters lawyer Christopher S. Sun, representing the media, said the suit was simply intended to ensure that what happens in the execution chamber is made public.

Current regulation allows the state to decide when the curtain is drawn during an execution, Sun said.

That would deprive the public of knowing what happened to an inmate during a botched execution, a matter of heightened public interest, Sun said.

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