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Case Name Associated Press v. Otter CJ-ID-0001
Docket / Court 1:12-cv-00255-EJL ( D. Idaho )
State/Territory Idaho
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
On May 22, 2012, several national and local news agencies filed a § 1983 lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, Southern Division, against the state of Idaho. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging a ... read more >
On May 22, 2012, several national and local news agencies filed a § 1983 lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, Southern Division, against the state of Idaho. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging a violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the policy of the Idaho Department of Correction to prohibit public viewing of the preparatory phase of the execution process, during which the inmate is restrained and the IV is inserted, violates the First Amendment right to free speech and the Fourteenth Amendment right to due process.

Along with their complaint, plaintiffs filed an expedited motion for a preliminary injunction, seeking to have the procedures in question enjoined before the execution of Richard Leavitt on June 12. The District Court (Judge Edward J. Lodge) granted the motion to expedite on May 24, but on June 5 the court denied plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. Judge Lodge found that while the plaintiffs have a strong case on the merits and the public has an interest in viewing an execution in its entirety, the motion was not filed in a timely manner, and to allow it would disrupt a scheduled execution that the public has an even greater interest in seeing carried out.

Plaintiffs immediately filed an interlocutory appeal to the Ninth Circuit, which reversed the District Court on June 8. A three-judge panel (Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt, and Judge Marsha S. Berzon) stated in an opinion by Judge Reinhardt that its ruling in California First Amendment Coalition v. Woodford, 299 F.3d 868 (9th Cir. 2002), had clearly indicated that Idaho's policy was unconstitutional for the reasons noted by the plaintiffs, that Idaho had had a decade to correct this policy, and thus that any problems of timing were the fault of the state and not of the plaintiffs. It further found that the District Court had abused is discretion in balancing the four elements the plaintiff must prove for a preliminary injunction. Accordingly, the appeals panel reversed the District Court and remanded for entry of an injunction prior to the execution of Richard Leavitt.

The District Court (Judge Lodge) entered an injunction on June 11 and directed the parties to submit a joint litigation plan by June 22.

The case is ongoing as of the date of this summary.

Christopher Schad - 06/12/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Death Penalty
Lethal Injection - General
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) The State of Idaho
Plaintiff Description several national and local news agencies
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2012 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:12-cv-00255-EJL (D. Idaho) 07/10/2012
CJ-ID-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Permanent Injunction 07/10/2010 (D. Idaho)
CJ-ID-0001-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief 05/22/2012
CJ-ID-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Plaintiffs' Expedited Motion for Preliminary Injunction] 06/05/2012 (D. Idaho)
CJ-ID-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Ninth Circuit] Opinion [Reversing the District Court's Denial of Plaintiffs' Expedited Motion for Preliminary Injunction] 06/08/2012 (682 F.3d 821)
CJ-ID-0001-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges Berzon, Marsha Siegel (Ninth Circuit)
CJ-ID-0001-0003
Dale, Candy W. (D. Idaho) [Magistrate]
CJ-ID-0001-9000
Kozinski, Alex (Ninth Circuit)
CJ-ID-0001-0003
Lodge, Edward J. (D. Idaho)
CJ-ID-0001-0002 | CJ-ID-0001-0004 | CJ-ID-0001-9000
Reinhardt, Stephen Roy (Ninth Circuit)
CJ-ID-0001-0003
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown, Charles A. (Idaho)
CJ-ID-0001-0001 | CJ-ID-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Gilmore, Michael S. (Idaho)
CJ-ID-0001-9000
Kubinski, Mark A. (Idaho)
CJ-ID-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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