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News media sue over California's new execution rules

Associated Press

The Los Angeles Times and other news media organizations sued over California’s new execution rules Wednesday, saying they would bar journalists from fully reporting on the lethal injection procedure. The lawsuit is the latest challenge as the state seeks to resume executions for the first time since 2006.

The execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison leaves critical steps out of public view, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco against the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the corrections secretary and San Quentin’s warden.

The lethal drug used in an execution would be prepared and administered from a separate neighboring “infusion control room” that would be out of view because of the way the complex was constructed in 2008.

A judge recently lifted one injunction blocking executions, but three other federal and state lawsuits are pending over the state’s plans to use a single powerful barbiturate instead of three execution drugs.

“California may not administer its executions from a back room, outside of the view of the press and the public,” one of the attorneys filing the suit, Ajay Krishnan, a partner with Keker, Van Nest & Peters, said in a statement.

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