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Judge dismisses Arkansas reporters' execution lawsuit

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  1. Newsgathering
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Webber Wright rejected a lawsuit Monday by Arkansas journalists who argued that they had a…

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Webber Wright rejected a lawsuit Monday by Arkansas journalists who argued that they had a First Amendment right to view the entire execution process, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette [ Little Rock] reports.

The state does not allow media and public witnesses to watch as intravenous tubes are inserted and removed from a prisoner about to be executed. Prison officials open curtains to the execution chamber for witnesses after the prisoner has already been strapped to the gurney and close them again once the inmate is dead.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas sued on behalf of the Northwest Arkansas Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Arkansas Times Inc. and Arkansas Times editor Max Brantley.