Georgia Dept. of Corrections fails to comply with Open Records Act and share critical information about lethal injection drugs
ATLANTA– Today, the Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) filed an Emergency Injunction on behalf of Emanuel Hammond, who is scheduled to be executed between January 25, 2011 and February 1, 2011. The Motion was filed in the Superior Court of Fulton County in Atlanta, Georgia and seeks an expedited hearing or stay of execution and full access to public records.
On November 12, 2010, Mr. Hammond requested access to public records from the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDOC) pertaining to the expenditure of public funds, purchases, inventory and expiration dates for drugs utilized in the lethal injection procedure in Georgia. Information contained in these records are not exempt from public disclosure and are critical to addressing whether the State of Georgia is executing convicted persons by lethal injection, in a manner permitted by the constitution and in compliance with accepted medical and ethical standards.
To comply with the requirements of the Open Records Act, the GDOC was required to send documents to Mr. Hammond’s attorneys within three business days. However, over a month after the statutory deadline, the GDOC produced no records and made a single-blanket objection to every request declaring that disclosure of the information could “compromise security against sabotage, criminal or terroristic acts” and therefore the State would not provide any of the requested documents. Today’s motion contends that based on the State law the “terrorist” exemption sought by the defendant is not applicable in this case because the records requested are routinely subject to inspection and do not compromise security or public safety.
On January 13, lawyers for Mr. Hammond requested yet again that the GDOC produce records or amend its original exemptions within the five business days set forth by the law. To date, they have not produced any documents and are again in violation of the Georgia Open Records Act.
“The State has hid from public view critical records about whether the lethal injection process is medically and constitutionally acceptable,” said Gerald Weber, Senior Attorney at SCHR who is representing Mr. Hammond. “If the State does not have the necessary chemicals, or is using expired ones, it cannot hide those facts from Georgians.”
In a similar public records request in Texas, the Texas Attorney General found that sunshine laws required access to public records regarding lethal injection drugs.
For additional documents, please visit www.schr.org,
For additional information, contact Kathryn Hamoudah at 404/688-1202 or email@example.com
To read the Plaintiff's Brief click here
For the Plaintiff's Motion click here
To read the Complaint click here
To read the Rule Nisi click here