Idaho News Agencies Sue to Watch More of Execution Process


A select number of news agencies - including the Associated Press and the Idaho Press Club - have filed suit against the state of Idaho so that reporters can witness more of the execution process.

In November 2011, when four reporters were chosen to serve as media witnesses for the execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades, the reporters were not allowed to watch as Rhoades was escorted into the execution chamber, strapped to a table, and had IV's inserted into his arm. Most states bar witnesses from watching those events. Only Ohio and Georgia allow witnesses to watch the entire process.

But the lawsuit by Idaho news organizations, filed late Tuesday in U.S. District Court, argues that reporters must accurately report the events, and any possible complications, to the public and therefore must have access to the process.

Idaho inmate Richard Leavitt is slated to be executed on Tuesday, June 12, at 10 a.m. for his July 1984 murder of 31-year-old Danette Elg in her Blackfoot home.

Idaho Department of Correction officials have been preparing for the Gem State's next execution ever since the completion of the Rhoades lethal injection.

""We never stopped our rehearsing," IDOC Director Brent Reinke told Citydesk. "We need to be as prepared in June as we were in November."

Reinke also said that the rehearsing would continue beyond June.

"We could see another execution in another six or seven months. It's entirely possible," said Reinke.