Federal Judge Susan Webber Wright has granted the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit seeking to open the entire Arkansas execution process to the public. She ruled there is no constitutional right to a public execution in dismissing the suit filed by the ACLU on behalf of the Arkansas Times,  myself and the Northwest Arkansas chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Here’s her opinion.


The possibility of an appeal depends on advice of counsel.

I’d comment that, just because a fully open process isn’t constitutionally required, it doesn’t mean Correction Department officials, who control the procedures, couldn’t voluntarily provide total transparency to a process that has become controversial. They won’t, of course, in part to shield potential mistakes.


Executions are effectively being held in abeyance while the U.S. Supreme Court considers challenges to the lethal injection process.