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News Scan

News Media Sues Idaho to Open Entirety of Executions to Public: Rebecca Boone of the Associated Press reports the Associated Press and 16 other organizations sued the state of Idaho on Tuesday, arguing that the news media and public have a First Amendment right to view all the steps of the state's lethal injection procedure. After the execution of William Bonin in California, the California First Amendment Coalition sued, saying the limited viewing access of executions violated the public's first amendment right. In 2002, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the argument from California officials that the restrictions were necessary to preserve the identity of the execution team. Idaho state officials said the decision did not apply to their procedures.

First Amendment Coalition of Arizona Wants to See Execution Preparation: Michael Kiefer of the Associated Press reports the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona was given "amicus" status in a federal lawsuit filed by several Arizona death row inmates that challenges the state's lethal injection procedures. The First Amendment Coalition of Arizona will argue the public has the right to witness executioners inserting the IV lines that deliver the lethal injection drugs to inmates.

15 States Urge Feds to Intervene in Lethal Injection Drug Ruling: Bill Mears of CNN reports 15 states on Monday called on the Food and Drug Administration to appeal a federal judge's decision in March to block the importation of thiopental, saying upcoming executions are being undermined. Judge Richard Leon also ordered state corrections departments to return their supply of thiopental to the FDA. The states called it a "flawed decision," and said, "If the (court) decision is not overturned, we as state attorneys general will be forced to take actions to ensure execution by lethal injection remains a viable option."

Lifers Could Qualify for Parole Sooner Under Louisiana Law: Ed Anderson of The Times-Picayune reports a bill that won final passage Tuesday and now heads to the Louisiana Governor will allow some non-violent, non-sex-crime offenders serving life sentences to be eligible for parole sooner, after serving a certain amount of their term. Inmates sentenced to life between the ages of 18 and 25 who have been model prisoners, are deemed low-risk if released, have completed 100 hours of pre-release programs, have obtained a GED or literacy certificate, and have completed drug rehabilitation if required, would be eligible for parole after serving 25 years of their life sentence. Those who meet the same conditions and were sentenced between the ages of 25 and 35 must serve 20 years of their life sentence. If sentenced between the ages of 35 and 50, offenders who meet all of the other conditions must serve 15 years of their sentence. Offenders sentenced to life at age 50 or older must serve at least 10 years and meet all of the other requirements.  

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