After the execution of Christopher Newton last month, the ACLU “responded with a wide-ranging request of state records, seeking, among other things,” an AP article in yesterday morning’s Cincinnati Enquirer relates, the names of the volunteer medics and guards who oversaw it,” drawing Ohio once more back into the ever-widening debate over capital punishment.
The article cites Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center—which opposes the death penalty—as saying the public can’t properly scrutinize the effectiveness of capital punishment without adequate information on those carrying it out. Advocates of the death penalty, such as Michael Rushford, president of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in Sacramento, accuse opponents of wanting to identify members of execution teams in order to intimidate them.
In most of the 37 states having the death penalty those identities are shielded & confidential, such as in Indiana; Ohio and Kentucky’s are more generic. Missouri has a pending bill not only keeping the identities of execution team members confidential, but also making disclosure of those identities an upper level, Class A, misdemeanor.
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, by the way, decided Monday that Missouri’s lethal injection procedure was not “cruel & unusual punishment,” allowing executions to resume in the state. (Article) (Decision)