25 September 2017 :
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow has ruled Arizona may keep secret from the media the identity of the entities that are supplying execution drugs to the state. Arizona does not have to reveal who provides its execution drugs, a judge ruled Thursday in a lawsuit arguing that the information would help the public determine whether the death penalty is carried out humanely and promote confidence in the criminal justice system. The decision marked a defeat for news organizations, including The Associated Press, that sued to get the information released. Judge Snow ruled that the media outlets didn't show they had a First Amendment right to knowing the suppliers of lethal injection drugs. The judge said the First Amendment protects the right of people to argue about the death penalty, but it doesn't require Arizona to reveal "protected information to the detriment of the state's ability to carry out its constitutional, lawfully imposed criminal punishments." The lawsuit followed the 2014 execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood, who was given 15 doses of a 2-drug combination over nearly 23 hours in what his attorney called a botched execution. Other news organizations that filed the lawsuit are The Arizona Republic, Guardian News & Media, Arizona Daily Star, CBS 5 (KPHO-TV) and 12 News (KPNX-TV). The news organizations won a partial victory last year when Snow ruled that the state must allow witnesses to view the entirety of an execution, including each time drugs are administered. Witnesses to Wood's death couldn't see that he was receiving additional doses of the drugs after the first ones failed to kill him. A new execution protocol issued in May (see 30/05/2017) will let witnesses see the injections through a camera in a room where the drugs are loaded into an inmate's IV line. Arizona, which has 118 prisoners on death row, saw executions put on hold for 2 1/2 years after the 2014 death of Wood. But the state is now able to resume executions after a separate lawsuit that challenged the way Arizona carries out the death penalty was settled this summer. No executions are scheduled.