The ACLU of Nebraska along with the Omaha World-Herald and the Lincoln Journal Star sued the state, seeking disclosure of the supplier of the four drugs Nebraska proposes to use in executions.
The state claimed that could lead to identification of the execution team, but the judge ruled the state could withhold anything that directly identified the team.
Lancaster County District Judge Jodi Nelson ruled the state must make the records public within seven days. The Attorney General’s office, which represented the Department of Correctional Services in the lawsuit, states it will appeal the decision.
Nebraska ACLU Executive Director Danielle Conrad praises the decision.
“It’s critical that the public has an opportunity to monitor the actions of its government and particularly when its government seeks to carry out its most grave function,” Conrad tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Conrad says transparency is vital when the state decides to carry out capital punishment.
“The state had, in a very disappointing fashion, attempted to cloak the death penalty in secrecy over the past many months,” according to Conrad.
Reporters with the newspapers testified during trial disclosure of department records in the past led to the discovery Nebraska officials paid $54,400 for foreign lethal injection drugs that it never received.
The Attorney General’s office declined a request for an interview, but did release the following statement to Nebraska Radio Network:
We are pleased the Court agreed the Department is not required to disclose those records identifying execution team members. We respectfully disagree with the Court’s analysis on the remaining records and plan to appeal.
The AG office has requested a July execution date for Carey Dean Moore, convicted of killing two cab drivers in 1979. Moore has been on death row longer than any other of the state’s 12 condemned inmates.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]