Granting Public Access to Lethal Injection Records

A team of Munger, Tolles & Olson litigators, working with the ACLU of Northern California as co-counsel, has won the release of 12,000 pages of internal agency documents detailing the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) lethal injection practices and protocols. With the release of the documents, the ACLU and the public have the opportunity to provide meaningful comment on the CDCR’s proposed new single-drug execution protocol.

Arguing that the CDCR released its proposed new lethal injection regulations for public comment without releasing detailed information about drugs, procedures, equipment or the qualifications and training of execution teams, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on Nov. 18, 2015 to obtain the documents under the California Public Records Act (CPRA). The First District Court of Appeal denied CDCR’s appeal, and the California Supreme Court declined to intervene in the case, forcing release of the documents and extending the public comment period until July 11, 2016.

The Munger Tolles team included Allyson R. Bennett, Emily C. Curran-Huberty, David H. Fry, Achyut J. Phadke and Bradley S. Phillips