June 13, 2015

The Dangers of Injecting Secrecy into the Death Penalty

2015 ACS National Convention, 2015 National Convention, Death Penalty, Eighth Amendment, First Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Lethal Injection

Adam Liptak

The New York Times
Begin: 0:00

Mark Earley

The Constitution Project
Begin: 21:08

Tanya Greene

American Civil Liberties Union
Begin: 15:15

Megan McCracken

University of California, Berkeley School of Law
Begin: 35:17

Katie Townsend

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Begin: 47:30
The Supreme Court has responded to Oklahoma's botched execution of Clayton Lockett by agreeing to hear the first lethal injection case since 2008's Baze v. Rees, which held Kentucky's lethal injection protocol constitutional. Since Baze, makers and suppliers of lethal injection drugs have increasingly refused to sell their products to death penalty states, forcing the few states that actively seek to execute death row inmates to adopted untested lethal injection protocols. These states have also developed a new tool to ward off legal challenges: secrecy laws barring access to information about lethal injection drug sources or protocols. Are critics right that these laws violate the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments by curtailing the media's access to information, forcing corrections staff to inflict pain on inmates, and violating the due process rights of the executed? Is the use of untested lethal injection protocols constitutional? How do these debates more generally reflect the continued viability of capital punishment in the United States? 
  • Adam Liptak, Supreme Court Correspondent, The New York Times
  • Mark Earley, Founder and Principal, Earley Legal Group; Member, Death Penalty Committee, The Constitution Project
  • Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union
  • Megan McCracken, Eighth Amendment Resource Counsel, Death Penalty Clinic, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Katie Townsend, Litigation Director, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press