Reporters Committee, ACLU and St. Louis Public Radio Reporter Sue Missouri Department of Corrections

Press Release | May 15, 2014

Today the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and Chris McDaniel, a St. Louis Public Radio reporter, filed a lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Corrections for violating the Sunshine Law by withholding public information regarding the state’s recent executions.

A copy of the lawsuit can be found on the websites of the Reporters Committee and the ACLU of Missouri.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri has brought several lawsuits against the Missouri Department of Corrections in an effort to determine the source of the lethal drugs to be used in executions, as well gain information about the state’s execution protocol in general. “This time we are partnering with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press,” says Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri. “Missourians have a right to understand how its government intends to carry out the death penalty in its name and the state cannot circumvent our Sunshine Law.”

"With lethal injection methods at the forefront of national and international debate, it is critical that the public be able to engage in a fully-informed discussion about the issue. Missouri and other states would rather keep the public in the dark about the safety and efficacy of lethal drugs. But we believe it is time for the media and the public to start challenging these states, and Missouri is the first step in our multi-state effort to enforce Sunshine Laws and increase public access," said Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce D. Brown.

The ACLU of Missouri is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization dedicated to defending and expanding the constitutional rights and civil liberties of all Missourians guaranteed by the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions, and is an affiliate of the national ACLU.

About the Reporters Committee

Founded in 1970, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers free legal support to thousands of working journalists and media lawyers each year. It is a leader in the fight against persistent efforts by government officials to impede the release of public information, whether by withholding documents or threatening reporters with jail. In addition to its 24/7 Legal Defense Hotline, the Reporters Committee conducts cutting-edge legal research, publishes handbooks and guides on media law issues, files frequent friend-of-the-court legal briefs and offers challenging fellowships and internships for young lawyers and journalists. For more information, go to www.rcfp.org, or follow us on Twitter @rcfp.

Contact:

ACLU of Missouri: Diane Balogh, (314) 669-3425, dbalogh@aclu-mo.org

Reporters Committee: Debra Gersh Hernandez, (703) 807-2104, dghernandez@rcfp.org

Related Reporters Committee resources:

· Brief: Reporters Committee et al. v. Missouri Department of Corrections