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Death row inmate facing firing squad denied access to media

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  1. Prior Restraint
The media will not be allowed to interview a prisoner slated to be executed by firing squad in Utah, The…

The media will not be allowed to interview a prisoner slated to be executed by firing squad in Utah, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

The Utah Department of Corrections said in a letter to the media that allowing interviews of Ronnie Lee Gardner, who was sentenced to death for fatally shooting an attorney during an attempted escape from custody, would shift the focus away from the victims of his crime.

Legislation enacted in 2004 eliminated the use of a firing squad as a method of execution going forward. Anyone who was sentenced after the law took effect will be executed by lethal injection, but Gardner was in custody before that date.

Several media attorneys have expressed concern that Gardner’s First Amendment rights are being violated. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, no other prisoner has been denied access to the media.