Appeals Court hears arguments on reach of execution drug secrecy

The Tennessean covered the arguments before the Court of Appeals Monday concerning an exemption to the Tennessee Public Records Act passed in 2013 that makes the source of execution drugs confidential.

Lawyers for death row inmates sought to have the source revealed to them so they could examine whether the source was safe and legal, and whether it would violate inmate rights to be free of cruel and unusual punishment. Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman ordered the information released to the lawyers under seal.

The state is appealing Bonnyman’s ruling.

An excerpt from reporter Brian Haas’ story:

The appeals panel Monday seemed skeptical of Hixson’s arguments, pressing him on whether the 2013 law applied to evidence in court cases.

“Condemned inmates do not have, nor have they ever had, the right nor the ability to supervise the manner in which their executions are carried out,” Hixson replied. “It’s never existed in the entire history of this state or of the United States.”

“But they have a right, do they not, to at least make sure that the drugs that they’re given are potent enough, that the drugs that they’re given are free of impurities that would damage the effect of the drugs?” asked Appeals Court Judge Andy Bennett, one of the three jurists on the panel.

You can read the full story here.

Other past TCOG posts on the secrecy of execution drugs here:

Should execution drugs be a state secret?

The Tennessean takes on secrecy of execution drugs

Missouri media file lawsuit over secrecy of execution drugs


What do you think?