University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Pacific News Service v. Woodford CJ-CA-0005
Docket / Court 5:06-cv-01793-JF ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
On March 8, 2006, the Pacific News Service filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the California Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the defendants ... read more >
On March 8, 2006, the Pacific News Service filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the California Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the defendants had violated the constitutional rights of the press and the public to attend, meaningfully observe, and gather and report on important information at executions being carried out by the defendants at the California State Prison at San Quentin. Specifically, the plaintiffs argued that the defendants' use of pancuronium bromide, a paralytic agent, acts as a chemical curtain over the lethal injection process. The plaintiffs allege that this chemical makes it impossible for witnesses to determine whether the executed inmates are being subjected to substantial and unnecessary pain before dying. As a result, the plaintiffs claim that the witnesses are denied the information that is necessary for the public to decide whether and how executions should be conducted.

On the same day that the plaintiffs filed the lawsuit, they asked the court to consolidate their case with Morales v. Woodford (CJ-CA-0004). On March 28, 2006, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Judge Jeremy Fogel) denied without prejudice the request to consolidate the cases.

On October 10, 2010, the defendants filled a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim in response to the plaintiffs' Second amended complaint. The defendants argued that the plaintiffs do not have a First Amendment right to dictate the method that the state uses to perform a lethal injection execution. Furthermore, the defendants argued that there are legitimate and constitutional reasons for using pancuronium bromide.

As of November 4, 2016 the court has not acted on the defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

Justin Benson - 02/08/2012
Abigail DeHart - 11/04/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Death Penalty
Lethal Injection - General
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) California Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description A non-profit media organization that reports on, among other things, the application of the death penalty in California.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing CJ-CA-0004 : Morales v. Hickman (N.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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Links Philadelphia Forfeiture
http://ij.org/case/philadelphia-forfeiture/
By: Institute for Justice (Institute for Justice)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
(N.D. Cal.) 12/18/2014
CJ-CA-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 03/08/2006
CJ-CA-0005-0001.pdf | Detail
Motion to Consolidate with Related Cases 03/08/2006
CJ-CA-0005-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Motion to Consolidate 03/28/2006 (N.D. Cal.)
CJ-CA-0005-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff Pacific News Service's Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Complaint 06/20/2006
CJ-CA-0005-0006.pdf | Detail
First Amended Complaint 06/28/2007
CJ-CA-0005-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Their Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief under FRCP 12(b)(6) for Failure to State A Claim or, in the Alternative, Under FRCP 12(b)(I) 07/17/2007
CJ-CA-0005-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [42 U.S.C. § 1983] 10/07/2010
CJ-CA-0005-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of their Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint 10/25/2010
CJ-CA-0005-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Fogel, Jeremy D. (N.D. Cal.)
CJ-CA-0005-0003 | CJ-CA-0005-9000
Seeborg, Richard G. (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
CJ-CA-0005-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Florey, Katherine (California)
CJ-CA-0005-0001 | CJ-CA-0005-0002 | CJ-CA-0005-0006 | CJ-CA-0005-9000
Krishnan, Ajay (California)
CJ-CA-0005-0001 | CJ-CA-0005-0002 | CJ-CA-0005-0004 | CJ-CA-0005-0006 | CJ-CA-0005-0007 | CJ-CA-0005-9000
Risher , Michael Temple (California)
CJ-CA-0005-0001 | CJ-CA-0005-0002 | CJ-CA-0005-0004 | CJ-CA-0005-0006 | CJ-CA-0005-0007 | CJ-CA-0005-9000
Schlosser, Alan Lawrence (California)
CJ-CA-0005-0001 | CJ-CA-0005-0002 | CJ-CA-0005-0004 | CJ-CA-0005-0006 | CJ-CA-0005-9000
Streeter, Jon B. (California)
CJ-CA-0005-0001 | CJ-CA-0005-0002 | CJ-CA-0005-0004 | CJ-CA-0005-0006 | CJ-CA-0005-0007 | CJ-CA-0005-9000
Thurm, Wendy J. (California)
CJ-CA-0005-0001 | CJ-CA-0005-0002 | CJ-CA-0005-0004 | CJ-CA-0005-0006 | CJ-CA-0005-0007 | CJ-CA-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Chaney, David S. (California)
CJ-CA-0005-0005
Gillette , Dane R. (California)
CJ-CA-0005-9000
Grunder, Frances T. (California)
CJ-CA-0005-0005
Matthias, Ronald Stephen (California)
CJ-CA-0005-9000
Patterson, Thomas S. (California)
CJ-CA-0005-0005 | CJ-CA-0005-0008 | CJ-CA-0005-9000
Quinn, Michael James (California)
CJ-CA-0005-0005 | CJ-CA-0005-0008 | CJ-CA-0005-9000
Other Lawyers Grele, John R. (California)
CJ-CA-0005-9000

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