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Idaho prosecutor to ask prison for full access to execution

Idaho Deputy Attorney General Michael Gilmore said on Thursday that he will ask the warden of an Idaho prison to change the prison policy that limits public access to executions. The Associated Press [media website] and 16 other newspaper agencies have filed suit to gain full access to the proceedings. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website], which is currently hearing the appeal, requested on Thursday that the prosecutor speak to the warden. The appeals court has not delivered a decision on the case. A judge for the US District Court for the District of Idaho [official website] on Tuesday rejected [JURIST report] the petition for full access submitted by news agencies. The Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) [official website] execution policy allows witnesses to view the execution only after the "inmate has entered the execution chamber, has been restrained, intravenous ("IV") catheters have been placed and medical personnel have left the viewable area of the execution chamber." The plaintiffs in this case sought a preliminary injunction, a permanent injunction and declaratory relief alleging that IDOC's policy violates the First Amendment. They specifically sought a preliminary injunction for the procedure in the execution of Richard Leavitt [case materials] which will take place on June 12. District Judge Edward Lodge reasoned that the plaintiffs have failed to timely file the motion for an expedited preliminary injunction because it was filed only 19 days before the scheduled execution.

States other than Idaho have received some attention regarding their death penalty procedures. In February, the US Supreme Court denied [JURIST report] Ohio's request to proceed its execution of Charles Lorraine, a 45-year-old man who was convicted in 1986 of killing an elderly couple. There was a growing concerns that the state deviates too often from its lethal injection rules for which the execution was delayed by federal courts. In November of last year, the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, Maureen O'Connor opened the first meeting of the state's death panel review committee which was formed [JURIST reports] in September to provide "guidance on the current laws on the subject, the practices in other jurisdictions, the data, the costs, and many other aspects associated with the death penalty."

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