Newspapers Ask Court for Pennsylvania Lethal-Injection Drug Info

The ACLU has filed a motion on behalf of the Inquirer, City Paper and others who wish to know the manufacturer of Pennsylvania's lethal-injection drugs.

Four newspapers, two in Philadelphia, have sued Pennsylvania in order to get information on the supplier of Pennsylvania’s lethal injection drugs. The motion was filed by the ACLU on behalf of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia City Paper, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Guardian US.

The lawsuit (below) asks a federal judge to unseal court documents that reveal the drugs Pennsylvania uses for executions, including the scheduled lethal injection of Humbert Michael Jr., set for September 22nd. Michael Jr. kidnapped and killed 16-year-old Trista Eng in 1993. It would be Pennsylvania’s first execution in since Gary Heidnik was executed in 1999.

The newspapers and Guardian US — the U.S. arm of the London-based Guardianwant to know the manufacturer of the drugs used in the upcoming execution. The ACLU says it knows the name of the compounding pharmacy that manufactures the drugs, but it cannot reveal it due to the court order. The ACLU previously sued to block the execution of Michael Jr.

The ACLU and the news organizations argue in the motion that “the public and the press have a presumptive right of access to documents filed with the court … These documents are of acute interest to the public and the media in the light of intense public scrutiny that has developed in the last year around the source of drugs used for lethal injection executions.”

“In light of the recent string of horrifically botched executions, the public is entitled to know how the state obtained the drugs they plan to use to carry out executions here in Pennsylvania,” ACLU of Pennsylvania Executive Director Reggie Shuford said.

Intervenors Motion to Unseal Documents:

Intervenors Brief in Support of Motion to Unseal Documents: