Justices order court records unsealed in Ala. execution

Attorneys for the death row inmate argued that the state's lethal injection method is unconstitutionally painful


Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala.— The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ordered court filings unsealed related to a recent execution in Alabama.

Justices granted a request from NPR and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to make the court filings public without having portions blacked out. The filings related to Christopher Lee Price's request for a stay prior to his May execution. Attorneys for Price argued that the state's lethal injection method is unconstitutionally painful.

Inmate Christopher Lee Price (Photo/ AP)
Inmate Christopher Lee Price (Photo/ AP)

The briefs filed in the case before the U.S. Supreme Court were heavily redacted as Alabama sought to keep its execution protocol "confidential."

NPR asked that unredacted versions of the briefs be made public. Justices agreed.

Alabama did not oppose the request, according a court filing, since a federal appellate court recently ruled in another case that Alabama can't keep its lethal injection protocol secret.

Lawyers for the state wrote that the prison system maintains security concerns over the release of some execution procedures, but "accepts that its protocol likely will be disclosed."

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in March sided with The Associated Press and other news outlets seeking Alabama's lethal injection protocol and other records related to an aborted 2018 execution. The state sought a full hearing before the full Circuit but that was denied.

Price, 46, was executed May 30 for killing a country preacher during a 1991 robbery.

Representatives of the Alabama attorney general's Office did not have an immediate comment on Monday's decision.

None of the documents have been made public yet.

Associated Press
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