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10 years after federal court ruling, 5 Western states are shielding part of executions
BOISE, Idaho (AP) ' A San Francisco-based federal appeals court ruled in 2002 that every aspect of an execution should be open to witnesses, from the moment the condemned enters the death chamber to his final heartbeat.
The ruling established what was expected of the nine Western states within the court's jurisdiction.
According to an Associated Press review and death penalty experts, Idaho, Arizona, Washington, Montana and Nevada are keeping part of each execution hidden from public view.
That means that a small group of witnesses, including journalists representing the public, don't see the insertion of the IVs that deliver the fatal drugs. The states say the privacy is necessary to protect the anonymity of the execution team.
The AP and 16 other organizations sued Tuesday in federal court to open Idaho's execution process.