Tennessee may appeal order to disclose names of execution team

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 30, 2014 8:16 PM

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE Tenn. (Reuters) - Tennessee's attorney general is considering appealing a court ruling requiring the state to disclose the names of doctors, pharmacists and others involved in executions to attorneys representing 11 death row inmates, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

The death row inmates are challenging the secrecy of the lethal injection process as well as Tennessee's plan to use its electric chair as a backup method if it cannot obtain the drugs necessary to perform lethal injections.

A state appeals court panel ruled on Monday that Tennessee must turn over the names of the executioners, pharmacists and doctors involved in executions to the inmates' lawyers, upholding a ruling by a lower court judge.

"We are currently reviewing the order," said Leigh Ann Apple Jones, spokeswoman for state Attorney General Robert Cooper.

The names of the execution team members will not be released to the public or even to the inmates themselves.

"This approach is measured and reasonable. It protects the rights of my clients as well as those of the defendants," said Kelley Henry, a federal public defender who represents some of the inmates.

Tennessee has not executed anyone since 2009. The execution of Billy Ray Irick, one of the inmates included in the lawsuit, had been scheduled for Oct. 7, but has been delayed. No new execution date has been set.

(Reporting By Tim Ghianni in Nashville; Editing by Sandra Maler)