Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Penn. Journos Gain More Access to Inmate Executions

The sign above the entrance to The Philadelphi...
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Attorneys for the Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections and The Philadelphia Inquirer and The [Mechanicsburg]Patriot News have settled a First Amendment dispute that expands what reporters may observe during the execution of prisoners, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Web site reports (

Under the agreement, reporters may witness capital punishment being carried out from the moment an inmate enters the execution chamber until he or she is declared dead. Authorities retain the right to cut the audio portion if the prisoner verbally threatens the witnesses to the execution.

Attorneys for the media outlets argued on First Amendment grounds for changes to the Commonwealth's Capital Case Procedure Manual, including opening the curtain so that the inmate may be seen being brought into the execution chamber and having catheters inserted into his or her arms.

The rcfp noted that 191 inmates are currently on Death Row in Pennsylvania, which has executed three prisoners since 1995.
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