A reporter sued Missouri's prisons chief in federal court for excluding him from being an execution witness, reported Jurist. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of Christopher McDaniel, a reporter whose stories have been critical of Missouri's death penalty procedures.
The suit asks a judge to block anyone other than Missouri's attorney general from serving as an execution witness until McDaniel's due-process claims are decided. McDaniel applied in January 2014 to witness a Missouri execution. He has stated he wants to "ensure that executions are carried out in a constitutional manner."
McDaniel has yet to receive a response to his request, while 17 executions have been carried out by the state. The Missouri Department of Corrections has "unfettered discretion" in deciding who may be among the at least "eight reputable citizens" to witness an execution. The ACLU alleges that records they obtained show that applicants to be execution witnesses were denied "if they expressed a desire to ensure that executions were carried out properly and constitutionally."
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