Supreme Court Allows Arizona Execution, Rejects Appeal On Drug Info


The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Arizona’s veil of secrecy around its lethal-injection drugs and will allow the execution of a double-murderer to proceed today, the Arizona Republic reports. The ruling knocked down a federal appeals court decision that the execution could not move forward unless the state turned over information about how the execution would be carried out. Executions are public events. But in recent years, many states that still have capital punishment, including Arizona, have passed or expanded laws that shroud the procedures in secrecy.

Joseph Rudolph Wood, 55, killed two people in 1989; he is scheduled to be put to death today. The Arizona Department of Corrections plans to use a controversial drug, and it favors a controversial method of administering it, so Wood’s attorneys demanded to know the qualifications of the executioners and the origin of the drugs to be used in the execution, claiming that Wood had a First Amendment right to the information. On Saturday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. The state appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which lifted the stay yesterday without addressing the First Amendment issue.

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