US judge rejects inmates’ lawsuit on Idaho execution plans

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit from two death row inmates seeking more information about Idaho’s execution plans. U.S. District Judge David Nye ruled Tuesday that because Gerald Ross Pizzuto Jr. and Thomas Eugene Creech both have appeals pending in their criminal cases, there’s no guarantee they’ll ever face execution, meaning they don’t yet have standing to sue over the details of the state’s execution plans. Still, both men can sue again if they lose their criminal cases and are issued death warrants.

The men, both represented by the Federal Defender Services of Idaho, sued the state in March over what they said was a lack of information about how prison officials planned to execute them. They said the lack of information violated their rights in several ways, in part because withholding the information prevents them from seeking legal remedies if the methods are likely to lead to botched lethal injection attempts.

State officials have long sought to keep information about lethal injection drugs and their source secret. Prison officials maintain that releasing the source of execution drugs would make them harder for the state to obtain in the future. But critics say the information should be released so the public can make its own decisions about whether the state is appropriately carrying out capital punishment. The Idaho Supreme Court is expected to rule soon in a separate lawsuit seeking information about the state’s lethal injection drugs. (AP)

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