The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports that several Ohio death-row inmates who have challenged Ohio's new law providing anonymity to execution drug manufacturers have filed an appeal with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The inmates had originally filed the case in U.S. District Court in Columbus, alleging that the law (HB 663), violates First Amendment rights of free speech and due process because it, "silence(s) one side of (the) debate and foreclose(s) all effective advocacy" regarding capital punishment. We discussed this bill in detail in November.
District Court Judge Gregory Frost dismissed the case, finding that the law did not "suppress free speech or the ability to oppose the death penalty." The judge found that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge portions of the law and that they did not state valid claims for equal protection, due process or the rights to petition or access information, holding that, "just because Plaintiffs want or need information does not invariably entitle them to it under the Constitution." Cleveland.com has posted the opinion in its entirety, here.
The plaintiffs filed an appeal in the Sixth Circuit last week. The case has been docketed under case number 15-3238.
Photo credit, AP file via Huffington Post.