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Panel: Suit over execution witness selection moves forward

July 28, 2018

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A lawsuit challenging the Missouri Department of Corrections’ policy for selecting execution witnesses can move forward following a ruling Friday by a federal appeals court panel.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with reporter Chris McDaniel, who applied in 2014 to serve as an execution witness. A lawsuit filed by the ACLU says McDaniel was not approved for any of the 17 executions since he applied.

McDaniel previously worked for St. Louis Public Radio and is now at BuzzFeed News. He has written several articles critical of Missouri’s execution practices.

The court ruling agrees with McDaniel’s claim that Missouri law gives the corrections director “unbridled discretion” to turn down witness applicants.

A spokeswoman for the Missouri attorney general’s office says officials are still reviewing the ruling.

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