Idaho Corrections: Lawsuit Necessary to Change Lethal Injection Protocol

Jun 12, 2012

Four Idaho reporters watched as an execution team inserted I-V's into convicted murderer Richard Leavitt today . This was the first time witnesses were allowed to watch what happens as soon as the condemned is wheeled into the death chamber on a gurney. the Idaho Department of Correction would not have changed its ways without a lawsuit.

The Associated Press and other Idaho news organizations sued the state to view Richard Leavitt’s entire execution. They won last Friday in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Idaho Department of Correction quickly changed how it handles executions to adapt to the court’s decision. Brent Reinke leads the Department. He says it was worth legally challenging the media’s request.

Director Brent Reinke: "In my opinion, it was. Because I think we’ve learned a lot in this process, and we took the necessary steps to be able to make sure we had a court order before we proceeded."

Reporters argued for greater access to state executions to help the public have an informed opinion on all aspects of the death penalty. Lawyers for several death row inmates in the U.S. have argued that past executions caused undue pain and suffering during botched IV insertions.

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio