Inquirer v. Wetzel

State refuses to allow press full access to view executions

Court/Assoc.: U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

Attorneys/Firms: Paul Titus & Stephen Shapiro (Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis); Witold Walczak & Mary Catherine Roper (ACLU-PA)

On September 25, 2012, the ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction on behalf of two Pennsylvania newspapers, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Harrisburg Patriot-News, that would allow them to view executions of condemned inmates in Pennsylvania without any visual or auditory obstruction. A judge granted the TRO on November 6, 2012.

A settlement was announced on November 1, 2013, in which the DOC agreed that witnesses, including media representatives, will be able to observe from the moment the condemned is brought into the execution chamber until the prisoner is pronounced dead by the coroner.

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