Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


This article examines, through the lens of First Amendment theory, current judicial debate regarding the access rights of inmates and the public to detailed facts about lethal- injection drugs, personnel, and procedures. The article uses several 2014 appellate court disputes as analytical springboards, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s groundbreaking decision in Wood v. Ryan. The article argues that the First Amendment doctrine developed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Press-Enterprise II too narrowly cabins and confines access rights in lethal-injection data cases. In contrast, three venerable theories of free expression–the marketplace of ideas, democratic self-governance, and self-realization/human dignity–support the establishment of both an inmate’s and the public’s right to such information.