LA Times v. Kernan (Right to View Executions)

Closed Case
Aug 17, 2018

Page Media

san quentin

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California, on behalf of the San Francisco Progressive Media Center, which publishes news site 48 Hills, filed a lawsuit challenging the execution viewing procedure of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

The state of California has issued a new lethal injection protocol for San Quentin State Prison, but the execution chamber built by CDCR places critical portions of the procedure outside of public view and deprives journalists the right to view and fully report on the execution.

The suit calls on the state to recognize the media and other witnesses’ First Amendment right to view the entire execution without interruption. Without complete media access, the public has no way to assess the execution and make informed decisions.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

San Francisco Progressive Media Center is represented by the ACLU Foundation of Northern California and Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP. The Los Angeles Times and KQED are co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit and are separately represented by Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

The government moved to dismiss a portion of the complaint, but on Aug. 17, 2018, the Court denied the motion, thus allowing the case to proceed to the merits. 

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