The public and attorneys for condemned prisoners won’t be given a behind-the-scenes look at executions in Arizona, a U.S. District Court judge ruled today.
Judge Neil V. Wake said in a written ruling that attorneys for death-row inmate Samuel Lopez were too late in filing their request to watch executioners strap him down and insert intravenous lines. Lopez, who is one of several death-row inmates who filed suit in February to challenge the state’s execution procedures, is scheduled to die June 27.
The First Amendment Coalition, a group that represents the media, filed an amicus brief in the litigation, requesting that the entire execution process be opened to the public. Currently, the first glimpse witnesses get of the execution is when the inmate is strapped to a gurney with the lines that carry the lethal drugs already inserted.
Wake denied the coalition’s request because Lopez didn’t raise a First Amendment claim.
Dale Baich, a Federal Public Defender representing Lopez, said they are weighing their options on whether to appeal.